p120-Catenin Is Required for Dietary Calcium Suppression of Oral Carcinogenesis in Mice


Zhongjian Xie, Yuan Yuan, Yi Jiang, Chandrama Shrestha, Ying Chen, Liyan Liao, Shangli Ji, Xiaoge Deng, Eryuan Liao, Daniel D. Bikle


Previous studies have shown that dietary calcium suppresses oral carcinogenesis, but the mechanism is unclear. p120-catenin (p120) is a cytoplasmic protein closely associated with E-cadherin to form the E-cadherin-β-catenin complex and may function as a tumor suppressor in the oral epithelium. To determine whether p120 is involved in the mechanism by which dietary calcium suppresses oral carcinogenesis, The normal, low or high calcium diet was fed control mice (designated as floxed p120 mice) or mice in which p120 was specifically deleted in the oral squamous epithelium during the adult stage (designated as p120cKO mice). All mice were exposed to a low dose of oral cancer carcinogen 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide and rates of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and proliferation and differentiation in the cancerous and non-cancerous oral epithelium of these mice were examined. The results showed that the low calcium diet increased rates of OSCC and proliferation of the non-cancerous oral epithelium and decreased differentiation of the non-cancerous oral epithelium, but had no effect on cancerous oral epithelium. In contrast, the high calcium diet had opposite effects. However, the effect of the dietary calcium on the rates of OSCC, proliferation and differentiation of the non-cancerous epithelium were not seen in p120cKO mice. Based on these results, we conclude that p120 is required for dietary calcium suppression of oral carcinogenesis and oral epithelial proliferation and dietary calcium induction of oral epithelial differentiation.