Elevation of WNT5A expression in polyp formation in Lkb1+/- mice and Peutz-Jeghers syndrome

Cecilia Lai, James Robinson, Sue Clark, Gordon Stamp, Richard Poulsom, Andrew Silver

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11 Scopus citations


Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS) is a rare, inherited disease caused by germline mutation of the LKB1 gene. Patients with PJS develop characteristic polyps in the digestive tract and carry an elevated risk of cancers in multiple organs, including the intestinal tract. While LKB1 is capable of phosphorylating AMPK and regulates the mTOR pathway, it is also known to be a multitasking protein that can influence other cellular processes, including cell polarity. We hypothesized that there may be other biological pathways directly or indirectly affected by the loss of LKB1in PJS and aimed to investigate this possibility through transcriptional profiling of polyps harvested from an Lkb1+/- mouse model of PJS and from PJS patients. We identified alterations in the mRNA level of a wide range of genes, including some that are involved in Wnt signalling ( Wnt5a, Wif1, Dixdc1, Wnt11, Ccnd1, and Ccnd2), although we did not observe nuclear localization of β-catenin in over 93 human PJS intestinal polyps or in 24 gastric polyps from Lkb1+/- mice. Among these genes, WNT5A, a non-canonical and non-transforming Wnt, is consistently up-regulated in both Lkb1+/- mice and human PJS polyps at a high level. We performed in situ hybridization to further define the spatial expression pattern of WNT5A and observed a strong signal in the stroma of mouse and human polyps compared to no or very low expression in the mucosa. Our findings indicate that WNT5A plays an important role in PJS polyposis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)584-592
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • LKB1
  • PJS
  • Polyp
  • WNT5A

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