Research ArticleCell Biology

Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase Revealed as a Negative Regulator of Wnt–β-Catenin Signaling

Sci. Signal.  26 May 2009:
Vol. 2, Issue 72, pp. ra25
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2000230

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Abstract

Wnts are secreted ligands that activate several receptor-mediated signal transduction cascades. Homeostatic Wnt signaling through β-catenin is required in adults, because either elevation or attenuation of β-catenin function has been linked to diverse diseases. To contribute to the identification of both protein and pharmacological regulators of this pathway, we describe a combinatorial screen that merged data from a high-throughput screen of known bioactive compounds with an independent focused small interfering RNA screen. Each screen independently revealed Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) as an inhibitor of Wnt–β-catenin signaling. Loss of BTK function in human colorectal cancer cells, human B cells, zebrafish embryos, and cells derived from X-linked agammaglobulinemia patients with a mutant BTK gene resulted in elevated Wnt–β-catenin signaling, confirming that BTK acts as a negative regulator of this pathway. From affinity purification–mass spectrometry and biochemical binding studies, we found that BTK directly interacts with a nuclear component of Wnt–β-catenin signaling, CDC73. Further, we show that BTK increased the abundance of CDC73 in the absence of stimulation and that CDC73 acted as a repressor of β-catenin–mediated transcription in human colorectal cancer cells and B cells.

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