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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Oct 14;94(21):11196-200.

The cysteine-rich frizzled domain of Frzb-1 is required and sufficient for modulation of Wnt signaling.

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Craniofacial and Skeletal Diseases Branch, National Institute of Dental Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Convincing evidence has accumulated to identify the Frizzled proteins as receptors for the Wnt growth factors. In parallel, a number of secreted frizzled-like proteins with a conserved N-terminal frizzled motif have been identified. One of these proteins, Frzb-1, binds Wnt-1 and Xwnt-8 proteins and antagonizes Xwnt-8 signaling in Xenopus embryos. Here we report that Frzb-1 blocks Wnt-1 induced cytosolic accumulation of beta-catenin, a key component of the Wnt signaling pathway, in human embryonic kidney cells. Structure/function analysis reveals that complete removal of the frizzled domain of Frzb-1 abolishes the Wnt-1/Frzb-1 protein interaction and the inhibition of Wnt-1 mediated axis duplication in Xenopus embryos. In contrast, removal of the C-terminal portion of the molecule preserves both Frzb-Wnt binding and functional inhibition of Wnt signaling. Partial deletions of the Frzb-1 cysteine-rich domain maintain Wnt-1 interaction, but functional inhibition is lost. Taken together, these findings support the conclusion that the frizzled domain is necessary and sufficient for both activities. Interestingly, Frzb-1 does not block Wnt-5A signaling in a Xenopus functional assay, even though Wnt-5A coimmunoprecipitates with Frzb-1, suggesting that coimmunoprecipitation does not necessarily imply inhibition of Wnt function.

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