The beta-catenin/TCF-4 complex imposes a crypt progenitor phenotype on colorectal cancer cells. van de Wetering M, Sancho E, Verweij C, de Lau W, Oving I, Hurlstone A, van der Horn K, Batlle E, Coudreuse D, Haramis AP, Tjon-Pon-Fong M, Moerer P, van den Born M, Soete G, Pals S, Eilers M, Medema R, Clevers H. Cell 111(2):241-50;



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The transactivation of TCF target genes induced by Wnt pathway mutations constitutes the primary transforming event in colorectal cancer (CRC). We show that disruption of beta-catenin/TCF-4 activity in CRC cells induces a rapid G1 arrest and blocks a genetic program that is physiologically active in the proliferative compartment of colon crypts. Coincidently, an intestinal differentiation program is induced. The TCF-4 target gene c-MYC plays a central role in this switch by direct repression of the p21(CIP1/WAF1) promoter. Following disruption of beta-catenin/TCF-4 activity, the decreased expression of c-MYC releases p21(CIP1/WAF1) transcription, which in turn mediates G1 arrest and differentiation. Thus, the beta-catenin/TCF-4 complex constitutes the master switch that controls proliferation versus differentiation in healthy and malignant intestinal epithelial cells.

The Axin-like protein PRY-1 is a negative regulator of a canonical Wnt pathway in C. elegans Korswagen HC, Coudreuse DY, Betist MC, van de Water S, Zivkovic D, Clevers HC. Genes Dev 16(10):1291-302



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Axin, APC, and the kinase GSK3 beta are part of a destruction complex that regulates the stability of the Wnt pathway effector beta-catenin. In C. elegans, several Wnt-controlled developmental processes have been described, but an Axin ortholog has not been found in the genome sequence and SGG-1/GSK3 beta, and the APC-related protein APR-1 have been shown to act in a positive, rather than negative fashion in Wnt signaling. We have shown previously that the EGL-20/Wnt-dependent expression of the homeobox gene mab-5 in the Q neuroblast lineage requires BAR-1/beta-catenin and POP-1/Tcf. Here, we have investigated how BAR-1 is regulated by the EGL-20 pathway. First, we have characterized a negative regulator of the EGL-20 pathway, pry-1. We show that pry-1 encodes an RGS and DIX domain-containing protein that is distantly related to Axin/Conductin. Our results demonstrate that despite its sequence divergence, PRY-1 is a functional Axin homolog. We show that PRY-1 interacts with BAR-1, SGG-1, and APR-1 and that overexpression of PRY-1 inhibits mab-5 expression. Furthermore, pry-1 rescues the zebrafish axin1 mutation masterblind, showing that it can functionally interact with vertebrate destruction complex components. Finally, we show that SGG-1, in addition to its positive regulatory role in early embryonic Wnt signaling, may function as a negative regulator of the EGL-20 pathway. We conclude that a highly divergent destruction complex consisting of PRY-1, SGG-1, and APR-1 regulates BAR-1/beta-catenin signaling in C. elegans.