Deletion of tetraspanin CD151 alters the Wnt oncogene-induced mammary tumorigenesis: A cell type-linked function and signaling

Hongxia Li, Jieming Li, Rongbo Han, Xinyu Deng, Junfong Shi, Huanhuan Huang, Nevean Hamad, Abigail McCaughley, Jinpeng Liu, Chi Wang, Kuey Chen, Dongping Wei, Jun Qiang, Sean Thatcher, Yadi Wu, Chunming Liu, Olivier Thibault, Xiaowei Wei, Song Chen, Hai QianBinhua P. Zhou, Pao Xu, Xiuwei H. Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Tetraspanin CD151 is increasingly implicated as a multifaceted mediator of cancer development and progression. Here we investigated the role of CD151 in breast cancer in the context of the Wnt oncogenic activation. Our data showed that removal of one or both of CD151 alleles in the MMTV-Wnt1 model significantly decreased the tumor-free survival of mice from 34 weeks on average to 22 weeks and 18 weeks, respectively. This effect coincided with an accelerated tumor growth and an increased number of Ki-67+ proliferative cells. Mechanistically, the CD151-deficient tumors were largely ER+, and exhibited hyperactivation of the Wnt pathway as reflected by a marked upregulation in β-catenin and Cyclin D1, and their target genes. In addition, E-cadherin displayed a cytosolic distribution and transcription factor Snail was markedly upregulated. Collectively, this data implies that CD151 suppresses the Wnt1-driven tumorigenesis, at least in part, via counteracting the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-like program in luminal epithelial cells. Meanwhile, the proportion of tumor cells expressing CK5 or p63, the biomarkers of myoepithelial/basal cells, markedly decreased in the absence of CD151. This change was accompanied by a decreased invasiveness of tumors and their incompetence to form a long-term cell culture. Consistent with this basal cell-linked role, the CD151 downregulation impairs mammosphere formation in MCF-10A cells and the defect was rescued by re-expression of intact CD151 ORF, but not its integrin binding-defective mutant. Overall, our study suggests that CD151 is a key player in the Wnt oncogene-driven tumorigenesis and impacts breast cancer malignancy in a cell type-dependent manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1151-1163
Number of pages13
JournalNeoplasia (United States)
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2019

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© 2019 The Authors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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