Hedgehog signaling pathway and gastrointestinal stem cell signaling network (Review)
Affiliations: M&M Medical BioInformatics, Hongo 113-0033, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan
- Published online on: December 1, 2006 https://doi.org/10.3892/ijmm.18.6.1019
- Pages: 1019-1023
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Hedgehog, BMP/TGFβ, FGF, WNT and Notch signaling pathways constitute the stem cell signaling network, which plays a key role in a variety of processes, such as embryogenesis, maintenance of adult tissue homeostasis, tissue repair during chronic persistent inflammation, and carcinogenesis. Sonic hedgehog (SHH), Indian hedgehog (IHH) and Desert hedgehog (DHH) bind to PTCH1/PTCH or PTCH2 receptor to release Smoothened (SMO) signal transducer from Patched-dependent suppression. SMO then activates STK36 serine/threonine kinase to stabilize GLI family members and to phosphorylate SUFU for nuclear accumulation of GLI. Hedgehog signaling activation leads to GLI-dependent transcriptional activation of target genes, such as GLI1, PTCH1, CCND2, FOXL1, JAG2 and SFRP1. GLI1-dependent positive feedback loop combined with PTCH1-dependent negative feedback loop gives rise to transient proliferation of Hedgehog target cells. Iguana homologs (DZIP1 and DZIP1L) and Costal-2 homologs (KIF7 and KIF27) are identified by comparative integromics. SHH-dependent parietal cell proliferation is implicated in gastric mucosal repair during chronic Helicobacter pylori infection. BMP-RUNX3 signaling induces IHH expression in surface differentiated epithelial cells of stomach and intestine. Hedgehog signals from epithelial cells then induces FOXL1-mediated BMP4 upregulation in mesenchymal cells. Hedgehog signaling is frequently activated in esophageal cancer, gastric cancer and pancreatic cancer due to transcriptional upregulation of Hedgehog ligands and epigenetic silencing of HHIP1/HHIP gene, encoding the Hedgehog inhibitor. However, Hedgehog signaling is rarely activated in colorectal cancer due to negative regulation by the canonical WNT signaling pathway. Hedgehog signaling molecules or targets, such as SHH, IHH, HHIP1, PTCH1 and GLI1, are applied as biomarkers for cancer diagnostics, prognostics and therapeutics. Small-molecule inhibitors for SMO or STK36 are suitable to be used for treatment of Hedgehog-dependent cancer.