Restoration of APC gene function in colorectal cancer cells by aminoglycoside- and macrolide-induced read-through of premature termination codons

Gut. 2010 Apr;59(4):496-507. doi: 10.1136/gut.2008.169805. Epub 2009 Dec 1.


Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) is a multifunctional tumour suppressor protein that negatively regulates the Wnt signalling pathway. The APC gene is ubiquitously expressed in tissues and organs, including the large intestine and central nervous system. The majority of patients with sporadic and hereditary colorectal cancer have mutations in the gene encoding APC. Approximately 30% of these mutations are single nucleotide changes that result in premature stop codons (nonsense mutations). A potential therapeutic approach for treatment of this subset of patients is the use of aminoglycosides and macrolides that induce nonsense mutation read-through and restore levels of full-length protein. We have used reporter plasmids and colorectal cancer cell lines to demonstrate that several aminoglycosides and tylosin, a member of the macrolide family, induced read-through of nonsense mutations in the APC gene. In xenograft experiments and in the Apc(Min/+) mouse model, these compounds ameliorated the tumorigenic clinical symptoms caused by nonsense mutations in the APC gene.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aminoglycosides / pharmacology*
  • Aminoglycosides / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Codon, Nonsense / drug effects
  • Codon, Nonsense / genetics*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Genes, APC / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Macrolides / pharmacology*
  • Macrolides / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Nude
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Aminoglycosides
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Codon, Nonsense
  • Macrolides