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Aberrant activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway is a critical event in advanced prostate cancer, but the genetic alterations that activate theWnt signaling pathway in many other cancers are rarely observed in prostate cancer. Other molecular mechanisms that regulate the Wnt signaling pathway in prostate cancer remain to be identified. Here, it is demonstrated that KIF3a, a subunit of kinesin-II motor protein, functions as an agonist of the Wnt signaling pathway in prostate cancer. KIF3a is upregulated in the majority of human prostate cancer cell lines and primary tumor biopsies. The expression levels of KIF3a correlate with a higher Gleason score, tumor-node-metastasis stage, and metastatic status of prostate cancer. Moreover, exogenous expression of KIF3a promoted cell growth in the benign prostate cells, whereas silencing KIF3a in cancer cells decreased cell proliferation, anchorage-independent cell growth, and cell migration/invasion. Mechanistically, KIF3a increases CK1-dependent DVL2 phosphorylation and β-catenin activation in prostate cancer cells, leading to transactivation of the Wnt-signaling target genes such as cyclin D1, HEF1, and MMP9. These findings support the notion that upregulation of KIF3a is causal of aberrant activation of Wnt signaling in advanced prostate cancer through the KIF3a-DVL2-β- catenin axis. Implications: Inactivation of KIF3a may improve survival of patients with advanced prostate cancer in which Wnt signaling is activated. Mol Cancer Res; 12(4); 491-503. © 2014 AACR.

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Molecular Cancer Research

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