2 Citations (Scopus)


The majority of colorectal cancers (CRCs) present with early mutations in tumor suppressor gene APC. APC mutations result in oncogenic activation of the Wnt pathway, which is associated with hyperproliferation, cytoskeletal remodeling, and a global increase in mRNA translation. To compensate for the increased biosynthetic demand, cancer cells critically depend on protein chaperones to maintain proteostasis, although their function in CRC remains largely unexplored. In order to investigate the role of molecular chaperones in driving CRC initiation, we captured the transcriptomic profiles of murine wild type and Apc-mutant organoids during active transformation. We discovered a strong transcriptional upregulation of Hspb1, which encodes small heat shock protein 25 (HSP25). We reveal an indispensable role for HSP25 in facilitating Apc-driven transformation, using both in vitro organoid cultures and mouse models, and demonstrate that chemical inhibition of HSP25 using brivudine reduces the development of premalignant adenomas. These findings uncover a hitherto unknown vulnerability in intestinal transformation that could be exploited for the development of chemopreventive strategies in high-risk individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere16194
JournalEMBO molecular medicine
Issue number12
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2022


  • Apc mutations
  • Wnt signaling
  • colorectal cancer
  • heat shock proteins
  • intestinal stem cells

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