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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2000 May 27;272(1):144-50.

Axin-induced apoptosis depends on the extent of its JNK activation and its ability to down-regulate beta-catenin levels.

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  • 1Regulatory Biology Laboratory, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, National University of Singapore, Republic of Singapore.


Axin is a multidomain protein that coordinates a variety of critical factors in Wnt signaling and JNK activation. In this study, we found that overexpression of Axin leads to apoptosis in several cell lines. A mutant Axin (Axin-deltaMID) that does not contain the MEKK1-interacting domain and is not capable of activating JNK, has less apoptotic effect. Together with the observations that dominant-negative forms of MEKK1 and JNK1 can attenuate Axin-induced apoptosis, we suggest that JNK activation is required for Axin-mediated apoptosis. Wild-type Axin proteins that can lead to destabilization of beta-catenin are more effective at causing cell death than those constructs (Axin-deltaGSK/beta-cat, Axin-deltaRGS/GSK/beta-cat) that are defective in regulation of beta-catenin but still fully capable of JNK activation. Furthermore, enhanced beta-catenin signaling by coexpression of beta-catenin or PP2C alpha attenuate cell death. Taken together, we suggest that the ability of Axin to induce apoptosis is determined by its ability to activate JNK and destabilize beta-catenin.

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