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Mol Biol Cell. 2012 Jun;23(11):2041-56. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E11-11-0965. Epub 2012 Apr 18.

Regulation of Wnt signaling by the tumor suppressor adenomatous polyposis coli does not require the ability to enter the nucleus or a particular cytoplasmic localization.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3280, USA.


Wnt signaling plays key roles in development and disease. The tumor suppressor adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) is an essential negative regulator of Wnt signaling. Its best-characterized role is as part of the destruction complex, targeting the Wnt effector β-catenin (βcat) for phosphorylation and ultimate destruction, but several studies suggested APC also may act in the nucleus at promoters of Wnt-responsive genes or to shuttle βcat out for destruction. Even in its role in the destruction complex, APC's mechanism of action remains mysterious. We have suggested APC positions the destruction complex at the appropriate subcellular location, facilitating βcat destruction. In this study, we directly tested APC's proposed roles in the nucleus or in precisely localizing the destruction complex by generating a series of APC2 variants to which we added tags relocalizing otherwise wild-type APC to different cytoplasmic locations. We tested these for function in human colon cancer cells and Drosophila embryos. Strikingly, all rescue Wnt regulation and down-regulate Wnt target genes in colon cancer cells, and most restore Wnt regulation in Drosophila embryos null for both fly APCs. These data suggest that APC2 does not have to shuttle into the nucleus or localize to a particular subcellular location to regulate Wnt signaling.

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