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Curr Biol. 1999 Feb 25;9(4):207-10.

The F-box protein beta-TrCP associates with phosphorylated beta-catenin and regulates its activity in the cell.

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Onyx Pharmaceuticals 3031 Research Drive Richmond California 94806 USA.


Defects in beta-catenin regulation contribute to the neoplastic transformation of mammalian cells. Dysregulation of beta-catenin can result from missense mutations that affect critical sites of phosphorylation by glycogen synthase kinase 3beta (GSK3beta). Given that phosphorylation can regulate targeted degradation of beta-catenin by the proteasome, beta-catenin might interact with an E3 ubiquitin ligase complex containing an F-box protein, as is the case for certain cell cycle regulators. Accordingly, disruption of the Drosophila F-box protein Slimb upregulates the beta-catenin homolog Armadillo. We reasoned that the human homologs of Slimb - beta-TrCP and its isoform beta-TrCP2 (KIAA0696) - might interact with beta-catenin. We found that the binding of beta-TrCP to beta-catenin was direct and dependent upon the WD40 repeat sequences in beta-TrCP and on phosphorylation of the GSK3beta sites in beta-catenin. Endogenous beta-catenin and beta-TrCP could be coimmunoprecipitated from mammalian cells. Overexpression of wild-type beta-TrCP in mammalian cells promoted the downregulation of beta-catenin, whereas overexpression of a dominant-negative deletion mutant upregulated beta-catenin protein levels and activated signaling dependent on the transcription factor Tcf. In contrast, beta-TrCP2 did not associate with beta-catenin. We conclude that beta-TrCP is a component of an E3 ubiquitin ligase that is responsible for the targeted degradation of phosphorylated beta-catenin.

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