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Mol Cell Biol. 1996 May;16(5):2128-34.

Wnt-1 regulates free pools of catenins and stabilizes APC-catenin complexes.

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  • 1SUGEN, Inc., Redwood City, California 94063, USA.


The Wnt-1 proto-oncogene induces the accumulation of beta-catenin and plakoglobin, two related proteins that associate with and functionally modulate the cadherin cell adhesion proteins. Here we have investigated the effects of Wnt-1 expression on the tumor suppressor protein APC, which also associates with catenins. Expression of Wnt-1 in two different cell lines greatly increased the stability of APC-catenin complexes. The steady-state levels of both catenins and APC were elevated by Wnt-1, and the half-lives of both beta-catenin and plakoglobin associated with APC were also markedly increased. The stabilization of catenins by Wnt-1 was primarily the result of a selective increase in the amount of uncomplexed, monomeric beta-catenin and plakoglobin, detected both by affinity precipitation and size-exclusion chromatography of cell extracts. Exogenous expression of beta-catenin was possible in cells already responding to Wnt-1 but not in the parental cells, suggesting that Wnt-1 inhibits an essential regulatory mechanism for beta-catenin turnover. APC has the capacity to oppose this Wnt-1 effect in experiments in which overexpression of the central region of APC significantly reduced the size of the monomeric pool of beta-catenin induced by Wnt-1. Thus, the Wnt-1 signal transduction pathway leads to the accumulation of monomeric catenins and stabilization of catenin complex formation with both APC and cadherins.

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