Demidov, O. N., Timofeev, O., Lwin, H. N. Y., Kek, C., Appella, E. & Bulavin, D. V. Wip1 phosphatase regulates p53-dependent apoptosis of stem cells and tumorigenesis in the mouse intestine. Cell Stem Cell 1, 180–190 (2007).
Colorectal cancer is one of the major causes of cancer-related deaths. To gain further insights into the mechanisms underlying its development, we investigated the role of Wip1 phosphatase, which is highly expressed in intestinal stem cells, in the mouse model of APCMin-driven polyposis. We found that Wip1 removal increased the life span of APCMin mice through a significant suppression of polyp formation. This protection was dependent on the p53 tumor suppressor, which plays a putative role in the regulation of apoptosis of intestinal stem cells. Activation of apoptosis in stem cells of Wip1-deficient mice, but not wild-type APCMin mice, increased when the Wnt pathway was constitutively activated. We propose, therefore, that the Wip1 phosphatase regulates homeostasis of intestinal stem cells. In turn, Wip1 loss suppresses APCMin-driven polyposis by lowering the threshold for p53-dependent apoptosis of stem cells, thus preventing their conversion into tumor-initiating stem cells.
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