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Constitutive Transcriptional Activation by a β-Catenin-Tcf Complex in APC−/− Colon Carcinoma

Science  21 Mar 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5307, pp. 1784-1787
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5307.1784

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Abstract

The adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) tumor suppressor protein binds to β-catenin, a protein recently shown to interact with Tcf and Lef transcription factors. The gene encoding hTcf-4, a Tcf family member that is expressed in colonic epithelium, was cloned and characterized. hTcf-4 transactivates transcription only when associated with β-catenin. Nuclei of APC−/− colon carcinoma cells were found to contain a stable β-catenin-hTcf-4 complex that was constitutively active, as measured by transcription of a Tcf reporter gene. Reintroduction of APC removed β-catenin from hTcf-4 and abrogated the transcriptional transactivation. Constitutive transcription of Tcf target genes, caused by loss of APC function, may be a crucial event in the early transformation of colonic epithelium.

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