A research article entitled, “Gβγ Activates GSK3 to Promote LRP6-Mediated β-Catenin Transcriptional Activity” was published in the May 11, 2010 issue of Science Signaling. In addition, this work was selected as an Editor’s Choice in the June 4, 2010 issue of Science and by the Faculty of 1000.
Evidence from Drosophila and cultured cell studies supports a role for heterotrimeric guanosine triphosphate-binding proteins (G proteins) in Wnt signaling. Wnt inhibits the degradation of the transcriptional regulator beta-catenin. We screened the alpha and betagamma subunits of major families of G proteins in a Xenopus egg extract system that reconstitutes beta-catenin degradation. We found that Galpha(o), Galpha(q), Galpha(i2), and Gbetagamma inhibited beta-catenin degradation. Gbeta(1)gamma(2) promoted the phosphorylation and activation of the Wnt co-receptor low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 6 (LRP6) by recruiting glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3) to the membrane and enhancing its kinase activity. In both a reporter gene assay and an in vivo assay, c-betaARK (C-terminal domain of beta-adrenergic receptor kinase), an inhibitor of Gbetagamma, blocked LRP6 activity. Several components of the Wnt-beta-catenin pathway formed a complex: Gbeta(1)gamma(2), LRP6, GSK3, axin, and dishevelled. We propose that free Gbetagamma and Galpha subunits, released from activated G proteins, act cooperatively to inhibit beta-catenin degradation and activate beta-catenin-mediated transcription.