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PAR-Induced Harnessing of EZH2 to β-Catenin: Implications for Colorectal Cancer

September 2022

"G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are involved in a wide array of physiological and disease functions, yet knowledge of their role in colon cancer stem cell maintenance is still lacking. In addition, the molecular mechanisms underlying GPCR-induced post-translational signaling regulation are poorly understood. Here, we find that protease-activated receptor 4 (PAR4) unexpectedly acts as a potent oncogene, inducing β-catenin stability and transcriptional activity. Both PAR4 and PAR2 are able to drive the association of methyltransferase EZH2 with β-catenin, culminating in β-catenin methylation. This methylation on a lysine residue at the N-terminal portion of β-catenin suppresses the ubiquitination of β-catenin, thereby promoting PAR-induced β-catenin stability and transcriptional activity. Indeed, EZH2 is found to be directly correlated with high PAR4-driven tumors, and is abundantly expressed in large tumors, whereas very little to almost none is expressed in small tumors. A truncated form of β-catenin, ∆N133β-catenin, devoid of lysine, as well as serine/threonine residues, exhibits low levels of β-catenin and a markedly reduced transcriptional activity following PAR4 activation, in contrast to wt β-catenin. Our study demonstrates the importance of β-catenin lysine methylation in terms of its sustained expression and function. Taken together, we reveal that PAR-induced post-transcriptional regulation of β-catenin is centrally involved in colon cancer."

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