- R-spondin proteins are newly identified secreted molecules that activate beta-catenin signaling. However, the mechanism of R-spondin action and its relationship with Wnt signaling remain unclear. Here we show that human R-spondin1 (hRspo1) is a high affinity ligand for the Wnt co-receptor LRP6 (K(d) = 1.2 nm). hRspo1 induces glycogen synthase kinase 3-dependent phosphorylation and activation of LRP6. DKK1, an LRP6 antagonist, inhibits hRspo1-induced LRP6 phosphorylation. We further demonstrate that hRspo1 synergizes with Frizzled5 in Xenopus axis induction assays and induces the phosphorylation of Dishevelled, a cytoplasmic component downstream of Frizzled function. Our study reveals interesting similarity and distinction between Wnt and R-spondin signaling.