KLF3 Transcription Activates WNT1 and Promotes the Growth and Metastasis of Gastric Cancer via Activation of the WNT/β-Catenin Signaling Pathway

pubmed: wnt1 2023-05-26

Lab Invest. 2023 Feb 1;103(6):100078. doi: 10.1016/j.labinv.2023.100078. Online ahead of print.


The transcription factor Krüppel-like factor (KLF) 3 is one of the members of the KLF family, which plays an important role in tumor progression. Nevertheless, the role of KLF3 in the growth and metastasis of gastric cancer (GC) still needs to be elucidated. Bioinformatics analysis showed that KLF3 was overexpressed in patients with GC, and the high expression of KLF3 was correlated with poor survival. KLF3 was also overexpressed in GC clinical samples and cell lines. In vitro functional role of KLF3 in GC cells was explored by a gain-of-function and loss-of-function assay. Overexpressed KLF3 promoted the cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition of GC cells, whereas suppressed KLF3 inhibited these biological behaviors. The clinical samples and bioinformatics analysis showed that WNT1 was also highly expressed in GC tumor tissues and positively correlated with KLF3 expression. The luciferase reporter assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation result confirmed that KLF3 could directly bind to the WNT1 promoter to increase the transcriptional activity of WNT1, thus regulating its expression. Overexpressed KLF3 enhanced the protein expression level of p-GSK3β(Ser9) and β-catenin, the key elements in the WNT/β-catenin signaling pathway. Repression of KLF3 decreased the level of p-GSK3β(Ser9) and β-catenin. Immunofluorescence images showed that KLF3 promoted nuclear β-catenin accumulation. Inhibition of WNT1 attenuated the proliferation, migration, and invasiveness of KLF3-overexpressing GC cells. Moreover, the xenograft mouse model confirmed that KLF3 promotes GC tumor growth and metastasis in vivo. Our results demonstrated that KLF3 activates the WNT/β-catenin signaling pathway via WNT1 to promote GC tumor growth and metastasis, indicating that repression of KLF3 may act as a potential therapeutic target for patients with GC.

PMID:36827869 | DOI:10.1016/j.labinv.2023.100078