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EMBO J. 2002 Apr 2;21(7):1733-42.

Casein kinase I phosphorylates the Armadillo protein and induces its degradation in Drosophila.

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Department of Viral Oncology, Institute for Virus Research, Kyoto University, Sakyo-Ku, Kyoto 606-8507, Japan.


Casein kinase I (CKI) was recently reported as a positive regulator of Wnt signaling in vertebrates and Caenorhabditis elegans. To elucidate the function of Drosophila CKI in the wingless (Wg) pathway, we have disrupted its function by double-stranded RNA-mediated interference (RNAi). While previous findings were mainly based on CKI overexpression, this is the first convincing loss-of-function analysis of CKI. Surprisingly, CKIalpha- or CKIepsilon-RNAi markedly elevated the Armadillo (Arm) protein levels in Drosophila Schneider S2R+ cells, without affecting its mRNA levels. Pulse-chase analysis showed that CKI-RNAi stabilizes Arm protein. Moreover, Drosophila embryos injected with CKIalpha double-stranded RNA showed a naked cuticle phenotype, which is associated with activation of Wg signaling. These results indicate that CKI functions as a negative regulator of Wg/Arm signaling. Overexpression of CKIalpha induced hyper-phosphorylation of both Arm and Dishevelled in S2R+ cells and, conversely, CKIalpha-RNAi reduced the amount of hyper-modified forms. His-tagged Arm was phosphorylated by CKIalpha in vitro on a set of serine and threonine residues that are also phosphorylated by Zeste-white 3. Thus, we propose that CKI phosphorylates Arm and stimulates its degradation.

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