Melanoma is the most aggressive skin malignancy with increasing incidence worldwide. Pannexin1 (PANX1), a member of the pannexin family of channel-forming glycoproteins, regulates cellular processes in melanoma cells including proliferation, migration, and invasion/metastasis. However, the mechanisms responsible for coordinating and regulating PANX1 function remain unclear. Here, we demonstrated a direct interaction between the C-terminal region of PANX1 and the N-terminal portion of β-catenin, a key transcription factor in the Wnt pathway. At the protein level, β-catenin was significantly decreased when PANX1 was either knocked down or inhibited by two PANX1 blockers, Probenecid and Spironolactone. Immunofluorescence imaging showed a disrupted pattern of β-catenin localization at the cell membrane in PANX1-deficient cells, and transcription of several Wnt target genes, including MITF, was suppressed. In addition, a mitochondrial stress test revealed that the metabolism of PANX1-deficient cells was impaired, indicating a role for PANX1 in the regulation of the melanoma cell metabolic profile. Taken together, our data show that PANX1 directly interacts with β-catenin to modulate growth and metabolism in melanoma cells. These findings provide mechanistic insight into PANX1-mediated melanoma progression and may be applicable to other contexts where PANX1 and β-catenin interact as a potential new component of the Wnt signaling pathway.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/dean-betts/11/