ALKAL1 gene silencing prevents colorectal cancer progression via suppressing Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) signaling pathway

Shasha Chen, Bin Wang, Xuekun Fu, Yanfang Liang, Xingxing Chai, Ziyu Ye, Ronggang Li, Yaoming He, Gang Kong, Jiachun Lian, Xiangyong Li, Ting Chen, Xin Zhang, Xianxiu Qiu, Xudong Tang, Keyuan Zhou, Bihua Lin, Jincheng Zeng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) has been described in a range of human cancers and is involved in cancer initiation and progression via activating multiple signaling pathways, such as the PI3K-AKT, CRKL-C3G, MEKK2/3-MEK5-ERK5, JAK-STAT and MAPK signal pathways. Recently ALK and LTK ligand 1 (ALKAL1) also named “augmentor-β” or “FAM150A” is identified as a potent activating ligands for human ALK that bind to the extracellular domain of ALK. However, due to its poor stability, the mechanisms of ALKAL1 underlying the tumor progression in the human cancers including colorectal cancer have not been well documented. Herein, ALKAL1 expression was evaluated by RNA sequencing datasets from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) of 625 cases colorectal cancer, immunohistochemical analysis of 377 cases colorectal cancer tissues, and Western blotting even Real-time PCR of 10 pairs of colorectal cancer tissues and adjacent normal tissues, as well as 8 colorectal cancer cell lines. Statistical analysis was performed to explore the correlation between ALKAL1 expression and clinicopathological features in colorectal cancer. Univariate and multivariate Cox regression analysis were performed to examine the association between ALKAL1 expression and overall survival. In vitro and in vivo assays were performed to assess the biological roles of ALKAL1 in colorectal cancer. Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA), Western blotting and luciferase assays were used to identify the underlying signal pathway involved in the tumor progression role of ALKAL1. As a result, we showed that ALKAL1 was upregulated in colorectal cancer tissues and cell lines. Upregulation of ALKAL1 correlated with tumor malignancy and poor prognosis in colorectal cancer. ALKAL1 silencing inhibited tumorigenesis, metastasis and invasion of colorectal cancer cells, and inhibited SHH signaling pathway, which is essential for ALKAL1 induced migration. Our findings reveal a new mechanism by which ALKAL1 participates in colorectal cancer migration and invasion via activating the SHH signaling pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-162
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Oncology

User-Defined Keywords

  • ALKAL1
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Metastasis
  • SHH signaling pathway


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