Research ArticleCANCER

β-Catenin/Tcf7l2–dependent transcriptional regulation of GLUT1 gene expression by Zic family proteins in colon cancer

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Science Advances  31 Jul 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 7, eaax0698
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax0698


The zinc finger of the cerebellum (ZIC) proteins has been implicated to function in normal tissue development. Recent studies have described the critical functions of Zic proteins in cancers and the potential tumor-suppressive functions in colon cancer development and progression. To elucidate the functional roles of Zic proteins in colorectal cancer, we knocked out the Zic5 gene and analyzed the chromatin localization pattern and transcriptional regulation of target gene expression. We found that Zic5 regulates glucose metabolism, and Zic5 knockout is accompanied by an increased glycolytic state and tolerance to a low-glucose condition. Furthermore, loss of β-catenin or TCF7l2 diminishes the chromatin binding of Zic5 globally. Our studies suggest that the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway has a strong influence on the function of Zic proteins and glucose metabolism in colorectal cancers through GLUT1. Interfering Wnt/-catenin–Zic5 axis–regulated aerobic glycolysis represents a potentially effective strategy to selectively target colon cancer cells.

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