Initiation of Wnt signaling: control of Wnt coreceptor Lrp6 phosphorylation/activation via frizzled, dishevelled and axin functions
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Canonical Wnt/beta-catenin signaling has central roles in development and diseases, and is initiated by the action of the frizzled (Fz) receptor, its coreceptor LDL receptor-related protein 6 (Lrp6), and the cytoplasmic dishevelled (Dvl) protein. The functional relationships among Fz, Lrp6 and Dvl have long been enigmatic. We demonstrated previously that Wnt-induced Lrp6 phosphorylation via glycogen synthase kinase 3 (Gsk3) initiates Wnt/beta-catenin signaling. Here we show that both Fz and Dvl functions are critical for Wnt-induced Lrp6 phosphorylation through Fz-Lrp6 interaction. We also show that axin, a key scaffolding protein in the Wnt pathway, is required for Lrp6 phosphorylation via its ability to recruit Gsk3, and inhibition of Gsk3 at the plasma membrane blocks Wnt/beta-catenin signaling. Our results suggest a model that upon Wnt-induced Fz-Lrp6 complex formation, Fz recruitment of Dvl in turn recruits the axin-Gsk3 complex, thereby promoting Lrp6 phosphorylation to initiate beta-catenin signaling. We discuss the dual roles of the axin-Gsk3 complex and signal amplification by Lrp6-axin interaction during Wnt/beta-catenin signaling.
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