Abnormal differentiation and growth of hematopoietic stem cells cause the development of hematopoietic diseases and hematopoietic malignancies. However, the molecular events underlying leukemia development are not well understood. In our recent study, we have demonstrated that calcium ionophore and phorbol ester force the differentiation of T lymphoblastic leukemia. The event involves a newly identified IκBα/WWOX/ERK signaling, in which WWOX is Ser14 phosphorylated. Additional evidence also reveals that pS14-WWOX is involved in enhancing cancer progression and metastasis and facilitating neurodegeneration. In this mini-review, we update the current knowledge for the functional roles of WWOX under physiological and pathological settings, and provide new insights regarding pS14-WWOX in T leukemia cell maturation, and switching the anticancer pY33-WWOX to pS14-WWOX for cancer promotion and disease progression. Impact statement: WWOX was originally designated as a tumor suppressor. However, human newborns deficient in WWOX do not spontaneously develop tumors. Activated WWOX with Tyr33 phosphorylation is present in normal tissues and organs. However, when pY33-WWOX is overly induced under stress conditions, it becomes apoptotic to eliminate damaged cells. Notably, WWOX with Ser14 phosphorylation is upregulated in the lesions of cancer, as well as in the brain hippocampus and cortex with Alzheimer’s disease. Suppression of pS14-WWOX by Zfra reduces cancer growth and mitigates Alzheimer’s disease progression, suggesting that pS14-WWOX facilitates disease progression. pS14-WWOX can be regarded as a marker of disease progression.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)