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Mol Cell Biol. 2004 Mar;24(5):2000-11.

Casein kinase Iepsilon modulates the signaling specificities of dishevelled.

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  • 1Program in Cell Biology, Sloan-Kettering Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021, USA.


Wnt signaling is critical to many aspects of development, and aberrant activation of the Wnt signaling pathway can cause cancer. Dishevelled (Dvl) protein plays a central role in this pathway by transducing the signal from the Wnt receptor complex to the beta-catenin destruction complex. Dvl also plays a pivotal role in the planar cell polarity pathway that involves the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). How functions of Dvl are regulated in these two distinct pathways is not clear. We show that deleting the C-terminal two-thirds of Dvl, which includes the PDZ and DEP domains and is essential for Dvl-induced JNK activation, rendered the molecule a much more potent activator of the beta-catenin pathway. We also found that casein kinase Iepsilon (CKIepsilon), a previously identified positive regulator of Wnt signaling, stimulated Dvl activity in the Wnt pathway, but dramatically inhibited Dvl activity in the JNK pathway. Consistent with this, overexpression of CKIepsilon in Drosophila melanogaster stimulated Wnt signaling and disrupted planar cell polarity. We also observed a correlation between the localization and the signaling activity of Dvl in the beta-catenin pathway and the JNK pathway. Furthermore, by using RNA interference, we demonstrate that the Drosophila CKIepsilon homologue Double time positively regulates the beta-catenin pathway through Dvl and negatively regulates the Dvl-induced JNK pathway. We suggest that CKIepsilon functions as a molecular switch to direct Dvl from the JNK pathway to the beta-catenin pathway, possibly by altering the conformation of the C terminus of Dvl.

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