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Cell. 1999 Nov 12;99(4):399-408.

The novel tyrosine kinase ZAK1 activates GSK3 to direct cell fate specification.

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Laboratory of Cellular and Developmental Biology, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Inhibition of GSK3 by 7-TM Wnt/wg receptor signaling is critical for specifying embryonic cell fate patterns. In Dictyostelium, the 7-TM cAMP receptors regulate GSK3 by parallel, antagonistic pathways to establish a developmental body plan. We describe here a novel tyrosine kinase, ZAK1, downstream of 7-TM cAMP receptor signaling that is required for GSK3 activation during development. zak1-nulls have reduced GSK3 activity and are defective in GSK3-regulated developmental pathways. Moreover, recombinant ZAK1 phosphorylates and activates GSK3 in vitro. We propose that ZAK1 is a positive regulator of GSK3 activity required for cell pattern formation in Dictyostelium and speculate that similar mechanisms exist to antagonize Wnt/wg signaling for metazoan cell fate specification.

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