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    Hepatoblastoma (HB) is the most common pediatric liver cancer. Although long-term survival of HB is generally favorable, it depends on clinical stage, tumor histology, and a variety of biochemical and molecular features. HB appears almost exclusively before the age of 3 years, is represented by seven histological subtypes, and is usually associated with highly heterogeneous somatic mutations in the catenin β1 (CTNNB1) gene, which encodes β-catenin, a Wnt ligand-responsive transcriptional co-factor. Numerous recurring β-catenin mutations, not previously documented in HB, have also been identified in various other pediatric and adult cancer types. Little is known about the underlying factors that determine the above HB features and behaviors or whether non-HB-associated β-catenin mutations are tumorigenic when expressed in hepatocytes. Here, we investigated the oncogenic properties of 14 different HB- and non-HB-associated β-catenin mutants encoded by Sleeping Beauty vectors following their delivery into the mouse liver by hydrodynamic tail-vein injection. We show that all β-catenin mutations, as well as WT β-catenin, are tumorigenic when co-expressed with a mutant form of yes-associated protein (YAP). However, tumor growth rates, histologies, nuclear-to-cytoplasmic partitioning, and metabolic and transcriptional landscapes were strongly influenced by the identities of the β-catenin mutations. These findings provide a context for understanding at the molecular level the notable biological diversity of HB. © 2019 Zhang et al.


    Weiqi Zhang, Jennifer Meyfeldt, Huabo Wang, Sucheta Kulkarni, Jie Lu, Jordan A Mandel, Brady Marburger, Ying Liu, Joanna E Gorka, Sarangarajan Ranganathan, Edward V Prochownik. β-Catenin mutations as determinants of hepatoblastoma phenotypes in mice. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2019 Nov 15;294(46):17524-17542

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    PMID: 31597698

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