CCN3, a founding member of the CCN family of growth regulators, was linked with hematology in 2003(1) when it was detected in human serum. CCN3 is expressed and secreted by hematopoietic progenitor cells in normal bone marrow. CCN3 acts through the core stem cell signalling pathways including Notch and Bone Morphogenic Protein, connecting CCN3 with the modulation of self-renewal and maturation of a number of cell lineages including hematopoietic, osteogenic and chondrogenic. CCN3 expression is disrupted in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia as a consequence of the BCR-ABL oncogene and allows the leukemic clone to evade growth regulation. In contrast, naive cord blood progenitors undergo enhanced clonal expansion in response to CCN3. Altered CCN3 expression is associated with numerous solid tumors including glioblastoma, melanoma. adrenocortical tumours, prostate cancer and bone malignancies including osteosarcoma. Mature CCN3 protein has five distinct modules and truncated protein variants with altered function are found in many cancers. Regulation by CCN3 is therefore cell type and isoform specific. CCN3 has emerged as a key player in stem cell regulation, hematopoiesis and a crucial component within the bone marrow microenvironment. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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