E-cadherin binding prevents beta-catenin nuclear localization and beta-catenin/LEF-1-mediated transactivation.
Beta-catenin is a multifunctional protein found in three cell compartments: the plasma membrane, the cytoplasm and the nucleus. The cell has developed elaborate ways of regulating the level and localization of beta-catenin to assure its specific function in each compartment. One aspect of this regulation is inherent in the structural organization of beta-catenin itself; most of its protein-interacting motifs overlap so that interaction with one partner can block binding of another at the same time. Using recombinant proteins, we found that E-cadherin and lymphocyte-enhancer factor-1 (LEF-1) form mutually exclusive complexes with beta-catenin; the association of beta-catenin with LEF-1 was competed out by the E-cadherin cytoplasmic domain. Similarly, LEF-1 and adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) formed separate, mutually exclusive complexes with beta-catenin. In Wnt-1-transfected C57MG cells, free beta-catenin accumulated and was able to associate with LEF-1. The absence of E-cadherin in E-cadherin-/- embryonic stem (ES) cells also led to an accumulation of free beta-catenin and its association with LEF-1, thereby mimicking Wnt signaling. beta-catenin/LEF-1-mediated transactivation in these cells was antagonized by transient expression of wild-type E-cadherin, but not of E-cadherin lacking the beta-catenin binding site. The potent ability of E-cadherin to recruit beta-catenin to the cell membrane and prevent its nuclear localization and transactivation was also demonstrated using SW480 colon carcinoma cells. (+info
Wnt3a-/--like phenotype and limb deficiency in Lef1(-/-)Tcf1(-/-) mice.
Members of the LEF-1/TCF family of transcription factors have been implicated in the transduction of Wnt signals. However, targeted gene inactivations of Lef1, Tcf1, or Tcf4 in the mouse do not produce phenotypes that mimic any known Wnt mutation. Here we show that null mutations in both Lef1 and Tcf1, which are expressed in an overlapping pattern in the early mouse embryo, cause a severe defect in the differentiation of paraxial mesoderm and lead to the formation of additional neural tubes, phenotypes identical to those reported for Wnt3a-deficient mice. In addition, Lef1(-/-)Tcf1(-/-) embryos have defects in the formation of the placenta and in the development of limb buds, which fail both to express Fgf8 and to form an apical ectodermal ridge. Together, these data provide evidence for a redundant role of LEF-1 and TCF-1 in Wnt signaling during mouse development. (+info
Tcf-1-mediated transcription in T lymphocytes: differential role for glycogen synthase kinase-3 in fibroblasts and T cells.
Beta-catenin is the vertebrate homolog of the Drosophila segment polarity gene Armadillo and plays roles in both cell-cell adhesion and transduction of the Wnt signaling cascade. Recently, members of the Lef/Tcf transcription factor family have been identified as protein partners of beta-catenin, explaining how beta-catenin alters gene expression. Here we report that in T cells, Tcf-1 also becomes transcriptionally active through interaction with beta-catenin, suggesting that the Wnt signal transduction pathway is operational in T lymphocytes as well. However, although Wnt signals are known to inhibit the activity of the negative regulatory protein kinase glycogen synthase kinase-3beta (GSK-3beta), resulting in increased levels of beta-catenin, we find no evidence for involvement of GSK-3beta in Tcf-mediated transcription in T cells. That is, a dominant negative GSK-3beta does not specifically activate Tcf transcription and stimuli (lithium or phytohemagglutinin) that inhibit GSK-3beta activity also do not activate Tcf reporter genes. Thus, inhibition of GSK-3beta is insufficient to activate Tcf-dependent transcription in T lymphocytes. In contrast, in C57MG fibroblast cells, lithium inactivates GSK-3beta and induces Tcf-controlled transcription. This is the first demonstration that lithium can alter gene expression of Tcf-responsive genes, and points to a difference in regulation of Wnt signaling between fibroblasts and lymphocytes. (+info
Differential expression of prostaglandin endoperoxide H synthase-2 and formation of activated beta-catenin-LEF-1 transcription complex in mouse colonic epithelial cells contrasting in Apc.
Mutations in Apc underlie the intestinal lesions in familial adenomatous polyposis and are found in >85% of sporadic colon cancers. They are frequently associated with overexpression of prostaglandin endoperoxide H synthase-2 (PGHS-2) in colonic adenomas. It has been suggested that Apc mutations are linked mechanistically to increased PGHS-2 expression by elevated nuclear accumulation of beta-catenin-Tcf-LEF transcription complex. In the present study, we show that PGHS-2 is differentially expressed in mouse colonic epithelial cells with distinct Apc status. Cells with a mutated Apc expressed markedly higher levels of PGHS-2 mRNA and protein and produced significantly more prostaglandin E2 than cells with normal Apc. Using electrophoretic mobility shift assays, we demonstrate that DNA-beta-catenin-LEF-1 complex formation is differentially induced in these two cell lines in an Apc-dependent manner. Our data indicate that the differential induction of beta-catenin-LEF-1 complex correlates closely with differential expression of PGHS-2. These findings support the hypothesis that the differential expression of PGHS-2 is mediated through the proposed beta-catenin/Tcf-LEF signaling pathway. (+info
Solution structure of the HMG protein NHP6A and its interaction with DNA reveals the structural determinants for non-sequence-specific binding.
NHP6A is a chromatin-associated protein from Saccharomyces cerevisiae belonging to the HMG1/2 family of non-specific DNA binding proteins. NHP6A has only one HMG DNA binding domain and forms relatively stable complexes with DNA. We have determined the solution structure of NHP6A and constructed an NMR-based model structure of the DNA complex. The free NHP6A folds into an L-shaped three alpha-helix structure, and contains an unstructured 17 amino acid basic tail N-terminal to the HMG box. Intermolecular NOEs assigned between NHP6A and a 15 bp 13C,15N-labeled DNA duplex containing the SRY recognition sequence have positioned the NHP6A HMG domain onto the minor groove of the DNA at a site that is shifted by 1 bp and in reverse orientation from that found in the SRY-DNA complex. In the model structure of the NHP6A-DNA complex, the N-terminal basic tail is wrapped around the major groove in a manner mimicking the C-terminal tail of LEF1. The DNA in the complex is severely distorted and contains two adjacent kinks where side chains of methionine and phenylalanine that are important for bending are inserted. The NHP6A-DNA model structure provides insight into how this class of architectural DNA binding proteins may select preferential binding sites. (+info
Functional domains of axin. Importance of the C terminus as an oligomerization domain.
To understand the mechanism of how Axin acts as an inhibitory molecule in the Wnt pathway, we generated a series of mutated forms of Axin. From the binding experiments, we defined the domains of Axin that bind glycogen synthase kinase-3beta (GSK-3beta) and beta-catenin. We also examined the ability of each Axin mutant to inhibit lymphoid enhancer factor-1 (Lef-1) reporter activity in a cell line expressing high levels of beta-catenin. Axin mutants that did not bind GSK-3beta or beta-catenin were ineffective in suppressing Lef-1 reporter activity. Binding GSK-3beta and beta-catenin was not sufficient for this inhibitory effect of Axin. Axin mutants with C-terminal truncations lacked the ability to inhibit Lef-1 reporter activity, even though they bound GSK-3beta and beta-catenin. The C-terminal region was required for binding to Axin itself. Substitution of the C-terminal region with an unrelated dimerizing molecule, the retinoid X receptor restored its inhibitory effect on Lef-1-dependent transcription. The oligomerization of Axin through its C terminus is important for its function in regulation of beta-catenin-mediated response. (+info
The cyclin D1 gene is a target of the beta-catenin/LEF-1 pathway.
beta-Catenin plays a dual role in the cell: one in linking the cytoplasmic side of cadherin-mediated cell-cell contacts to the actin cytoskeleton and an additional role in signaling that involves transactivation in complex with transcription factors of the lymphoid enhancing factor (LEF-1) family. Elevated beta-catenin levels in colorectal cancer caused by mutations in beta-catenin or by the adenomatous polyposis coli molecule, which regulates beta-catenin degradation, result in the binding of beta-catenin to LEF-1 and increased transcriptional activation of mostly unknown target genes. Here, we show that the cyclin D1 gene is a direct target for transactivation by the beta-catenin/LEF-1 pathway through a LEF-1 binding site in the cyclin D1 promoter. Inhibitors of beta-catenin activation, wild-type adenomatous polyposis coli, axin, and the cytoplasmic tail of cadherin suppressed cyclin D1 promoter activity in colon cancer cells. Cyclin D1 protein levels were induced by beta-catenin overexpression and reduced in cells overexpressing the cadherin cytoplasmic domain. Increased beta-catenin levels may thus promote neoplastic conversion by triggering cyclin D1 gene expression and, consequently, uncontrolled progression into the cell cycle. (+info
Interaction of axin and Dvl-2 proteins regulates Dvl-2-stimulated TCF-dependent transcription.
Axin promotes the phosphorylation of beta-catenin by GSK-3beta, leading to beta-catenin degradation. Wnt signals interfere with beta-catenin turnover, resulting in enhanced transcription of target genes through the increased formation of beta-catenin complexes containing TCF transcription factors. Little is known about how GSK-3beta-mediated beta-catenin turnover is regulated in response to Wnt signals. We have explored the relationship between Axin and Dvl-2, a member of the Dishevelled family of proteins that function upstream of GSK-3beta. Expression of Dvl-2 activated TCF-dependent transcription. This was blocked by co-expression of GSK-3beta or Axin. Expression of a 59 amino acid GSK-3beta-binding region from Axin strongly activated transcription in the absence of an upstream signal. Introduction of a point mutation into full-length Axin that prevented GSK-3beta binding also generated a transcriptional activator. When co-expressed, Axin and Dvl-2 co-localized within expressing cells. When Dvl-2 localization was altered using a C-terminal CAAX motif, Axin was also redistributed, suggesting a close association between the two proteins, a conclusion supported by co-immunoprecipitation data. Deletion analysis suggested that Dvl-association determinants within Axin were contained between residues 603 and 810. The association of Axin with Dvl-2 may be important in the transmission of Wnt signals from Dvl-2 to GSK-3beta. (+info