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Cell Commun Signal. 2005 Oct 19;3:12.

Xenopus frizzled-4S, a splicing variant of Xfz4 is a context-dependent activator and inhibitor of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling.

Author information

1
Institute of Human Genetics, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 366, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany. rajeeb.swain@med.uni-heidelberg.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Secreted Frizzled related proteins (SFRPs) are extracellular regulators of Wnt signaling. These proteins contain an N-terminal cysteine rich domain (CRD) highly similar to the CRDs of the Frizzled family of seven-transmembrane proteins that act as Wnt receptors. SFRPs can bind to Wnts and prevent their interaction with the Frizzled receptor. Recently it has been reported that a splice variant of human Frizzled-4 (FZD4S) lacking the transmembrane and the cytoplasmic domains of Frizzled-4 can activate rather than inhibit Wnt-8 activity in Xenopus embryos. This indicates that secreted CRD containing proteins such as Frizzled ecto-domains and SFRPs may not always act as Wnt inhibitors. It is not known how FZD4S can activate Wnt/beta-catenin signaling and what biological role this molecule plays in vivo.

RESULTS:

Here we report that the Xenopus frizzled-4 is alternatively spliced to give rise to a putative secreted protein that lacks the seven-transmembrane and the cytoplasmic domains. We performed functional experiments in Xenopus embryos to investigate how this novel splicing variant, Xfz4S, can modulate the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway. We show that Xfz4S as well as the extracellular domain of Xfz8 (ECD8) can act as both activators and inhibitors of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling dependent on the Wnt ligand presented. The positive regulation of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling by the extracellular domains of Frizzled receptors is mediated by the members of low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein (LRP-5/6) that act as Wnt coreceptors.

CONCLUSION:

This work provides evidence that the secreted extracellular domains of Frizzled receptors may act as both inhibitors and activators of Wnt signaling dependent on the Wnt ligand presented.

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