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Trends Genet December 1, 1997; 13 (12): 485-9.

TCF/LEF factor earn their wings.

Clevers H , van de Wetering M .

Factors of the TCF/LEF HMG domain family (TCFs) exist in vertebrates, Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans. It has very recently become evident that TCFs interact with the vertebrate WNT effector beta-catenin to mediate axis formation in Xenopus. Likewise, Armadillo (the Drosophila ortholog of beta-catenin) is genetically upstream of a Drosophila TCF in the Wingless pathway. Upon Wingless/Wnt signaling, Armadillo/beta-catenin associate with nuclear TCFs and contribute a trans-activation domain to the resulting bipartite transcription factor. The cytoplasmic tumor-suppressor protein APC binds to beta-catenin causing its destruction. In APC-deficient colon carcinoma cells, beta-catenin accumulates and is constitutively complexed with TCF factors. In APC-positive colon carcinomas and melanomas, dominant mutations in beta-catenin render it indestructable, providing an alternative mechanism to activate transcription of TCF target genes inappropriately. So, transcriptional activation of TCF target genes by beta-catenin appears to be a central event in development and cellular transformation.

PubMed ID: 9433138
Article link: Trends Genet