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CES Medicina

Print version ISSN 0120-8705


MANTILLA, CAROLINA; SUAREZ MELLADO, IRIS; DUQUE JARAMILLO, ALEJANDRA  and  NAVAS, MARIA CRISTINA. β-catenin signaling mechanisms and its role in carcinogenesis. CES Med. [online]. 2015, vol.29, n.1, pp.109-127. ISSN 0120-8705.

The modification of signaling pathways is a common mechanism in the oncogénesis process of different types of tumor. An alteration in any protein of the pathway by genetic mutations or by epigenetic changes in its gene promoter could cause misregulation of the pathway and therefore lead to uncontrolled cell proliferation. The Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway is important in several processes, such as embryogenesis, organogenesis and homeostasis. β-catenin protein acts as a co-activator of this pathway, and when it is translocated to the nucleus, it functions as a transcription factor. An imbalance in this pathway by mutations or epigenetic modifications of β-catenin and/or other proteins, favors the accumulation of β-catenin in the nucleus, leading to permanent activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. This event triggers the expression of genes encoding proteins involved in cell proliferation, differentiation and maintenance of stem cells. β-catenin is also known to participate in cell-cell adhesion, mediating the interaction between Cadherin and Actin. Alterations in the complex β-catenin-Cadherin-Actin lead to a loss of adhesion and a high invasive capacity of affected cells, mechanisms associated with invasiveness of tumor cells. This review describes the β-catenin protein, and its role in the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, as well as in gene expression regulation and cellcell adhesion, and the alterations that can trigger an oncogenic process.

Keywords : β-catenin; CTNNB1; Cell adhesion; Wnt/β-catenin; Carcinogenesis.

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