Defining Components of the ßcatenin Destruction Complex and Exploring Its Regulation and Mechanisms of Action during Development
BackgroundA subset of signaling pathways play exceptionally important roles in embryonic and post-embryonic development, and mis-regulation of these pathways occurs in most human cancers. One such pathway is the Wnt pathway. The primary mechanism keeping Wnt signaling off in the absence of ligand is regulated proteasomal destruction of the canonical Wnt effector ßcatenin (or its fly homolog Armadillo). A substantial body of evidence indicates that SCFβTrCP mediates βcat destruction, however, an essential role for Roc1 has not been demonstrated in this process, as would be predicted. In addition, other E3 ligases have also been proposed to destroy βcat, suggesting that βcat destruction may be regulated differently in different tissues.Methodology/Principal FindingsHere we used cultured Drosophila cells, human colon cancer cells, and Drosophila embryos and larvae to explore the machinery that targets Armadillo for destruction. Using RNAi in Drosophila S2 cells to examine which SCF components are essential for Armadillo destruction, we find that Roc1/Roc1a is essential for regulating Armadillo stability, and that in these cells the only F-box protein playing a detectable role is Slimb. Second, we find that while embryonic and larval Drosophila tissues use the same destruction complex proteins, the response of these tissues to destruction complex inactivation differs, with Armadillo levels more elevated in embryos. We provide evidence consistent with the possibility that this is due to differences in armadillo mRNA levels. Third, we find that there is no correlation between the ability of different APC2 mutant proteins to negatively regulate Armadillo levels, and their recently described function in positively-regulating Wnt signaling. Finally, we demonstrate that APC proteins lacking the N-terminal Armadillo-repeat domain cannot restore Armadillo destruction but retain residual function in negatively-regulating Wnt signaling.Conclusions/SignificanceWe use these data to refine our model for how Wnt signaling is regulated during normal development.