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Cancer Metastasis Rev. 1999;18(2):231-46.

The control of beta-catenin and TCF during embryonic development and cancer.

Author information

1
MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK.

Abstract

The Wnt signaling pathway functions reiteratively during animal development to control cell fate decisions. Inappropriate deregulation of this pathway leads to cancer in a number of tissues. The components that transduce the Wnt signal from the cell membrane to the cell nucleus are well conserved between vertebrates and Drosophila. A pivotal Wnt effector is the protein beta-catenin/Armadillo whose stability in the cytoplasm is low in unstimulated cells. Beta-catenin/Armadillo is targetted for proteasome-mediated degradation by a protein complex to which it binds. This complex consists of Axin, a putative scaffold protein which also binds to the tumor suppressor Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) and glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3)/Shaggy. Wnt signaling somehow inhibits the kinase activity of the quaternary complex. As a consequence, beta-catenin/Armadillo accumulates in the cytoplasm, translocates to the nucleus and becomes a transcriptional co-activator of T cell factor (TCF), the ultimate nuclear target of Wnt signaling. TCF is an architectural protein, mediating the assembly of multi-protein enhancer complexes. It cooperates with other enhancer-binding proteins and, together with beta-catenin/Armadillo, stimulates the transcription of Wnt target genes. Recently, repressors have been identified that prevent TCF from being active in the absence of Wnt signaling.

PMID:
10728986
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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