Up-regulation of Dsg2 confered stem cells with malignancy through wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway

Exp Cell Res. 2023 Jan 1;422(1):113416. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2022.113416. Epub 2022 Nov 11.


In the previous study, we originally developed cancer stem cells (CSCs) models from mouse induced pluripotent stem cells (miPSCs) by culturing miPSCs in the conditioned medium of cancer cell lines, which mimiced as carcinoma microenvironment. However, the molecular mechanism of conversion in detail remains to be uncovered. Microarray analysis of the CSCs models in this study revealed Dsg2, one of the members of the desmosomal cadherin family, was up-regulated when compared with the original miPSCs. Moreover, the expression of key factors in Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway were also found up-regulated in one of the CSCs models, named miPS-LLCcm. An autocrine loop was implied between Dsg2 and Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway when miPSCs were treated with Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway activators, Wnt3a and CHIR99021, and when the CSCs model were treated with inhibitors, IWR-1 and IWP-2. Furthermore, the ability of proliferation and self-renewal in the CSCs model was markedly decreased in vitro and in vivo when Dsg2 gene was knocked down by shRNA. Our results showed that the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway is activated by the up-regulation of Dsg2 expresssion during the conversion of miPSCs into CSCs implying a potential mechanism of the tranformation of stem cells into malignant phenotype.

Keywords: Cancer stem cells; Dsg2; Malignant conversion; Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway; miPS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Desmoglein 2* / genetics
  • Desmoglein 2* / metabolism
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells* / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells* / metabolism
  • Up-Regulation / genetics
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway* / genetics
  • beta Catenin / genetics
  • beta Catenin / metabolism


  • beta Catenin
  • Dsg2 protein, mouse
  • Desmoglein 2
  • Chir 99021