Lack of guanylyl cyclase C, the receptor for Escherichia coli heat-stable enterotoxin, results in reduced polyp formation and increased apoptosis in the multiple intestinal neoplasia (Min) mouse model

Academic Article


  • Guanylyl cyclase C (GC-C), a transmembrane receptor for bacterial heat-stable enterotoxin and the mammalian peptides guanylin and uroguanylin, mediates intestinal ion secretion and affects intestinal cell growth via cyclic GMP signaling. In intestinal tumors, GC-C expression is maintained while guanylin and uroguanylin expression is lost, suggesting a role for GC-C activation in tumor formation or growth. We show by in situ hybridization that GC-C expression is retained in adenomas from multiple intestinal neoplasia (ApcMin/+) mice. In order to determine the in vivo role of GC-C in intestinal tumorigenesis, we generated ApcMin/+ mice homozygous for a targeted deletion of the gene encoding GC-C and hypothesized that these mice would have increased tumor multiplicity and size compared to wild-type Apc Min/+ mice on the same genetic background. In contrast, the absence of GC-C resulted in a reduction of median polyp number by 55%. There was no change in the median diameter of polyps, suggesting no effect on tumor growth. Somatic loss of the wild-type Apc allele, an initiating event in intestinal tumorigenesis, also occurred in polyps from GC-C-deficient ApcMin/+ mice. We have found increased levels of apoptosis as well as increased caspase-3 and caspase-7 gene expression in the intestines of GC-C-deficient Apc Min/+ mice compared with ApcMin/+ mice. We propose that these alterations are a possible compensatory mechanism by which loss of GC-C signaling also affects tumorigenesis.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Mann EA; Steinbrecher KA; Stroup C; Witte DP; Cohen MB; Giannella RA
  • Start Page

  • 500
  • End Page

  • 505
  • Volume

  • 116
  • Issue

  • 4