Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) is a multifunctional tumor suppressor protein that negatively regulates the Wnt signaling pathway. The APC gene is ubiquitously expressed in tissues and organs, including the large intestine and central nervous system. The majority of sporadic and hereditary colorectal cancer (CRC) patients 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 ApcMin/+ mouse model, these compounds ameliorated the tumorigenic clinical symptoms caused by nonsense mutations in the APC gene.
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