The APC tumor suppressor is required for epithelial cell polarization and three-dimensional morphogenesis

Alyssa C. Lesko, Kathleen H. Goss, Frank F. Yang, Adam Schwertner, Imge Hulur, Kenan Onel, Jenifer R. Prosperi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


The Adenomatous Polyposis Coli (APC) tumor suppressor has been previously implicated in the control of apical-basal polarity; yet, the consequence of APC loss-of-function in epithelial polarization and morphogenesis has not been characterized. To test the hypothesis that APC is required for the establishment of normal epithelial polarity and morphogenesis programs, we generated APC-knockdown epithelial cell lines. APC depletion resulted in loss of polarity and multi-layering on permeable supports, and enlarged, filled spheroids with disrupted polarity in 3D culture. Importantly, these effects of APC knockdown were independent of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, but were rescued with either full-length or a carboxy (c)-terminal segment of APC. Moreover, we identified a gene expression signature associated with APC knockdown that points to several candidates known to regulate cell-cell and cell-matrix communication. Analysis of epithelial tissues from mice and humans carrying heterozygous APC mutations further supports the importance of APC as a regulator of epithelial behavior and tissue architecture. These data also suggest that the initiation of epithelial-derived tumors as a result of APC mutation or gene silencing may be driven by loss of polarity and dysmorphogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)711-723
Number of pages13
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Adenomatous polyposis coli
  • Epithelial polarity
  • Madin-darby canine kidney

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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