The role of desmosomal cadherins in colorectal tumourigenesis

McEvoy, Katherina Yasmin (2012). The role of desmosomal cadherins in colorectal tumourigenesis. University of Birmingham. M.D.


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In cancer, loss of intercellular contact contributes to tumour progression and invasion. Desmosomal cadherins are essential constituents of desmosomes – intercellular junctions that confer significant adhesive strength to epithelial tissues and cardiac muscle. Although changes in desmosomal components have been noted in a variety of cancers previously, this investigation has shown for the first time altered desmocollin expression in colorectal cancer.
Real-time PCR and western blotting were used to assess desmocollin expression in a series of colorectal cancer and matched normal tissue samples. Loss of desmocollin 2 expression was observed in the cancer samples. In addition, de novo expression of desmocollins 1 and 3, which are not normally expressed in the colon, was observed. Desmoglein gene expression was also altered in the cancer samples. Although classical cadherin switching is a hallmark of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition, desmocollin switching has not previously been reported.
Further experiments, to investigate the effect of loss of desmocollin 2 and desmoglein 2 on the behaviour of cultured cells were performed. In addition, experiments were carried out to identify those transcription factors that regulate desmosomal cadherin gene expression in the colon. Transcription factors of the CCAAT/enhancer-binding proteins family act as transcriptional activators of desmosomal cadherin promoters in colonic cells.

Type of Work: Thesis (Higher Doctorates > M.D.)
Award Type: Higher Doctorates > M.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Medical & Dental Sciences
School or Department: Institute of Cancer Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)


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