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EMBO J. 1998 Mar 2;17(5):1371-84.

Axin, a negative regulator of the Wnt signaling pathway, forms a complex with GSK-3beta and beta-catenin and promotes GSK-3beta-dependent phosphorylation of beta-catenin.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Hiroshima University School of Medicine, 1-2-3, Kasumi, Minami-ku, Hiroshima 734-8551, Japan.


Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) mediates epidermal growth factor, insulin and Wnt signals to various downstream events such as glycogen metabolism, gene expression, proliferation and differentiation. We have isolated here a GSK-3beta-interacting protein from a rat brain cDNA library using a yeast two-hybrid method. This protein consists of 832 amino acids and possesses Regulators of G protein Signaling (RGS) and dishevelled (Dsh) homologous domains in its N- and C-terminal regions, respectively. The predicted amino acid sequence of this GSK-3beta-interacting protein shows 94% identity with mouse Axin, which recently has been identified as a negative regulator of the Wnt signaling pathway; therefore, we termed this protein rAxin (rat Axin). rAxin interacted directly with, and was phosphorylated by, GSK-3beta. rAxin also interacted directly with the armadillo repeats of beta-catenin. The binding site of rAxin for GSK-3beta was distinct from the beta-catenin-binding site, and these three proteins formed a ternary complex. Furthermore, rAxin promoted GSK-3beta-dependent phosphorylation of beta-catenin. These results suggest that rAxin negatively regulates the Wnt signaling pathway by interacting with GSK-3beta and beta-catenin and mediating the signal from GSK-3beta to beta-catenin.

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