Tyrosine-based Signal Mediates LRP6 Endocytosis and Desensitization of Wnt/{beta}-catenin Signaling [Molecular Bases of Disease]

August 20th, 2014 by Liu, C.-C., Takahisa, K., Roth, B., Bu, G.

Wnt/β-catenin signaling orchestrates a number of critical events including cell growth, differentiation and cell survival during development. Misregulation of this pathway leads to various human diseases, specifically cancers. Endocytosis and phosphorylation of the LDL receptor-related protein 6 (LRP6), an essential co-receptor for Wnt/β-catenin signaling, play a vital role in mediating Wnt/β-catenin signal transduction. However, its regulatory mechanism is not fully understood. In this study, we define the mechanisms by which LRP6 endocytic trafficking regulates Wnt/β-catenin signaling activation. We show that LRP6 mutant with defective tyrosine-based signal in its cytoplasmic tail has an increased cell surface distribution and decreased endocytosis rate. These changes in LRP6 endocytosis coincide with an increased distribution to caveolae, increased phosphorylation, and enhanced Wnt/β-catenin signaling. We further demonstrate that treatment of Wnt3a ligands or blocking the clathrin-mediated endocytosis of LRP6 lead to a redistribution of wild-type receptor to lipid rafts. The LRP6 tyrosine mutant also exhibited an increase in signaling activation in response to Wnt3a stimulation compared to wild-type LRP6, and this activation is suppressed when caveolae-mediated endocytosis is blocked. Our results reveal molecular mechanisms by which LRP6 endocytosis routes regulate its phosphorylation and the strength of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, and have implications on how this pathway can be modulated in human diseases.