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J Cell Sci. 2010 Jan 1;123(Pt 1):23-8. doi: 10.1242/jcs.058602.

Modulation of Wnt signaling by the nuclear localization of cellular FLIP-L.

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Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, The University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0032, Japan.


Cellular FLIP (cFLIP) inhibits the apoptosis signaling initiated by death receptor ligation. We previously reported that a long form of cFLIP (cFLIP-L) enhances Wnt signaling via inhibition of beta-catenin ubiquitylation. In this report, we present evidence that cFLIP-L translocates into the nucleus, which could have a role in modulation of Wnt signaling. cFLIP-L has a functional bipartite nuclear localization signal (NLS) at the C-terminus. Wild-type cFLIP-L (wt-FLIP-L) localizes in both the nucleus and cytoplasm, whereas NLS-mutated cFLIP-L localizes predominantly in the cytoplasm. cFLIP-L also has a nuclear export signal (NES) near the NLS, and leptomycin B, an inhibitor of CRM1-dependent nuclear export, increases the nuclear accumulation of cFLIP-L, suggesting that it shuttles between the nucleus and cytoplasm. Expression of mutant cFLIP-L proteins with a deletion or mutations in the NLS and NES confers resistance to Fas-mediated apoptosis, as does wt-FLIP-L, but they do not enhance Wnt signaling, which suggests an important role of the C-terminus of cFLIP-L in Wnt-signaling modulation. When wt-FLIP-L is expressed in the cytoplasm by conjugation with exogenous NES (NES-FLIP-L), Wnt signaling is not enhanced, whereas the NES-FLIP-L increases cytoplasmic beta-catenin as efficiently as wt-FLIP-L. cFLIP-L physically interacts with the reporter plasmid for Wnt signaling, but not with the control plasmid. These results suggest a role for nuclear cFLIP-L in the modulation of Wnt signaling.

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