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J Biol Chem. 2008 Apr 4;283(14):9224-30. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M706638200. Epub 2008 Feb 4.

Interaction of FOXO with beta-catenin inhibits beta-catenin/T cell factor activity.

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  • 1Department of Physiological Chemistry, Center for Biomedical Genetics, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Wingless (Wnt) signaling regulates many aspects of development and tissue homeostasis, and aberrant Wnt signaling can lead to cancer. Upon a Wnt signal beta-catenin degradation is halted and consequently the level of beta-catenin in the cytoplasm increases. This allows entry of beta-catenin into the nucleus where it can regulate gene transcription by direct binding to members of the lymphoid enhancer factor/T cell factor (TCF) family of transcription factors. Recently, we identified Forkhead box-O (FOXO) transcription factors as novel interaction partners of beta-catenin (Essers, M. A., de Vries-Smits, L. M., Barker, N., Polderman, P. E., Burgering, B. M., and Korswagen, H. C. (2005) Science 308, 1181-1184). Here we show that the beta-catenin binding to FOXO serves a dual effect. beta-catenin, through binding, enhances FOXO transcriptional activity. In addition, FOXO competes with TCF for interaction with beta-catenin, thereby inhibiting TCF transcriptional activity. Reduced binding between TCF and beta-catenin is observed after FOXO overexpression and cellular oxidative stress, which simultaneously increases binding between beta-catenin and FOXO. Furthermore, small interfering RNA-mediated knock down of FOXO reverts loss of beta-catenin binding to TCF after cellular oxidative stress. Taken together, these results provide evidence for a cross-talk mechanism between FOXO and TCF signaling in which beta-catenin plays a central regulatory role.

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