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J Biol Chem. 1999 Jun 18;274(25):18017-25.

Functional characterization of multiple transactivating elements in beta-catenin, some of which interact with the TATA-binding protein in vitro.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institute of Immunobiology, Stuebeweg 51, D-79108 Freiburg, Germany.


beta-Catenin, a member of the family of Armadillo repeat proteins, plays a dual role in cadherin-mediated cell adhesion and in signaling by Wnt growth factors. Upon Wnt stimulation beta-catenin undergoes nuclear translocation and serves as transcriptional coactivator of T cell factor DNA-binding proteins. Previously the transactivation potential of different portions of beta-catenin has been demonstrated, but the precise location of transactivating elements has not been established. Also, the mechanism of transactivation by beta-catenin and the molecular basis for functional differences between beta-catenin and the closely related proteins Armadillo and Plakoglobin are poorly understood. Here we have used a yeast system for the detailed characterization of the transactivation properties of beta-catenin. We show that its transactivation domains possess a modular structure, consist of multiple subelements that cover broad regions at its N and C termini, and extend considerably into the Armadillo repeat region. Compared with beta-catenin the N termini of Plakoglobin and Armadillo have different transactivation capacities that may explain their distinct signaling properties. Furthermore, transactivating elements of beta-catenin interact specifically and directly with the TATA-binding protein in vitro providing further evidence that a major function of beta-catenin during Wnt signaling is to recruit the basal transcription machinery to promoter regions of Wnt target genes.

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