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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2001 Apr 6;282(3):750-6.

FZD4S, a splicing variant of frizzled-4, encodes a soluble-type positive regulator of the WNT signaling pathway.

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Genetics and Cell Biology Section, Genetics Division, National Cancer Center Research Institute, Tsukiji 5-chome, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104-0045, Japan.


Frizzled-1 (FZD1)-FZD10 are seven-transmembrane-type WNT receptors, and SFRP1-SFRP5 are soluble-type WNT antagonists. These molecules are encoded by mutually distinct genes. We have previously isolated and characterized the 7.7-kb FZD4 mRNA, encoding a seven-transmembrane receptor with the extracellular cysteine-rich domain (CRD). Here, we have cloned and characterized FZD4S, a splicing variant of the FZD4 gene. FZD4S, corresponding to the 10.0-kb FZD4 mRNA, consisted of exon 1, intron 1, and exon 2 of the FZD4 gene. FZD4S encoded a soluble-type polypeptide with the N-terminal part of CRD, and was expressed in human fetal kidney. Injection of synthetic FZD4S mRNA into the ventral marginal zone of Xenopus embryos at the 4-cell stage did not induce axis duplication by itself, but augmented the axis duplication potential of coinjected Xwnt-8 mRNA. These results indicate that the FZD4 gene gives rise to soluble-type FZD4S as well as seven-transmembrane-type FZD4 due to alternative splicing, and strongly suggest that FZD4S plays a role as a positive regulator of the WNT signaling pathway.

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