Resource Details

Canonical Wnt/β-catenin Signaling

Randall T. Moon*

1Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Pharmacology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA 98195 USA.


Corresponding author. E-mail, rtmoon{at}


This animation provides an interactive presentation of the Wnt signaling pathway as it may occur in multiple cell types. This animation would be useful in teaching developmental biology, immunology, and cell signaling courses. Activation of Wnt pathways can modulate cell proliferation, cell survival, cell behavior, and cell fate. The Wnt pathway is an example of a pathway that in the absence of ligand, a constitutively active kinase results in the degradation of one of the signaling components. Thus, phosphorylation promotes degradation in the basal, unstimulated state.

The animation shows how in the absence of Wnt, β-catenin (b-Cat) is degraded in a complex containing APC and Axin, through a ubiquitin (u)-proteasome process following phosphorylation (P) by casein kinase 1 (not shown) and glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK-3). Wnt binding to its receptor Frizzled and possibly the coreceptor LRP activates Dishevelled (Dsh). Dsh and GSK-3 binding protein (GBP) inhibit GSK-3, allowing b-Cat to escape degradation and translocate to the nucleus, where it stimulates transcription by interacting with transcription factors of the TCF family.

This animation was created by Cameron Slayden with the scientific oversight of Randall Moon.

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Educational Details

Learning Resource Type: Animation

Context: Undergraduate upper division, graduate, professional (degree program)

Intended Users: Teacher, learner

Intended Educational Use: Teach, learn

Discipline: Developmental biology, cell biology, immunology

Keywords: Gene expression, cell fate, signal transduction, cell signaling

Technical Details

Format: Shockwave Flash Object (swf file)

Size: 55 kb

Requirements: Macromedia Flash 5 or higher

Related Resource

Connections Map: R. T. Moon, Wnt/beta-catenin pathway. Sci. STKE (Connections Map, as seen June 2004);CMP_5533. [Canonical Pathway]

Limits for Use

Cost: Free

Rights: This material may be downloaded, printed, linked to, and/or redistributed without modification for non-commercial, course-teaching purposes only, provided credit to STKE is included by listing the citation for the teaching resource.


Citation: R. T. Moon, Canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Sci. STKE2004, tr5 (2004).

© 2004 American Association for the Advancement of Science