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Curr Biol January 8, 2002; 12 (1): 53-8.

Frizzled receptors activate a novel JNK-dependent pathway that may lead to apoptosis.

Lisovsky M , Itoh K , Sokol SY .

Extracellular Wnt ligands and their receptors of the Frizzled family control cell fate, proliferation, and polarity during metazoan development. Frizzled signaling modulates target gene expression through a beta-catenin-dependent pathway, functions to establish planar cell polarity in Drosophila epithelia, and activates convergent extension movements and intracellular Ca(2+) signaling in frog and fish embryos. Here, we report that a Frizzled receptor, Xenopus Frizzled 8 (Xfz8), activates c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK) and triggers rapid apoptotic cell death in gastrulating Xenopus embryos. This activity of Xfz8 required the cytoplasmic tail of the receptor and was blocked by a dominant inhibitor of JNK. Moreover, the cytoplasmic tail of Xfz8 targeted to the membrane was sufficient for activation of JNK and apoptosis. The apoptotic signaling was shared by a specific subset of Frizzled receptors, was inhibited by Wnt5a, and occurred in a Dishevelled- and T cell factor (TCF)-independent manner. Thus, our experiments identify a novel Frizzled-dependent signaling pathway, which involves JNK and differs from the beta-catenin-dependent and convergent extension pathways.

PubMed ID: 11790303
Article link: Curr Biol

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: dvl2 fzd8 jun mapk8 wnt5a