FBXW7 influences murine intestinal homeostasis and cancer, targeting Notch, Jun, and DEK for degradation.
The Fbxw7 (F-box/WD repeat-containing protein 7; also called CDC4， Sel10， Ago， and Fbw7) component of the SCF (Skp1/Cullin/F-box protein) E3 ubiquitin ligase complex acts as a tumor suppressor in several tissues and targets multiple transcriptional activators and protooncogenes for ubiquitin-mediated degradation. To understand Fbxw7 function in the murine intestine， in this study， we specifically deleted Fbxw7 in the murine gut using Villin-Cre (Fbxw7(ΔG)). In wild-type mice， loss of Fbxw7 in the gut altered homeostasis of the intestinal epithelium， resulted in elevated Notch and c-Jun expression， and induced development of adenomas at 9-10 mo of age. In the context of APC (adenomatous polyposis coli) deficiency (Apc(Min/+) mice)， loss of Fbxw7 accelerated intestinal tumorigenesis and death and promoted accumulation of β-catenin in adenomas at late but not early time points. At early time points， Fbxw7 mutant tumors showed accumulation of the DEK protooncogene. DEK expression promoted cell division and altered splicing of tropomyosin (TPM) RNA， which may also influence cell proliferation. DEK accumulation and altered TPM RNA splicing were also detected in FBXW7 mutant human colorectal tumor tissues. Given their reduced lifespan and increased incidence of intestinal tumors， Apc(Min/+)Fbxw7(ΔG) mice may be used for testing carcinogenicity and drug screening.