Research Articles

Assembly of Dishevelled 3-based supermolecular complexes via phosphorylation and Axin



Background: Dishevelled-3 (Dvl3) is a multivalent scaffold essential to cell signaling in development. Dsh/Dvls enable a myriad of protein-protein interactions in Wnt signaling. In the canonical Wnt/β-catenin pathway specifically, Dvl3 polymerizes to form dynamic protein aggregates, so-called “signalsomes”, which propagate signals from the Wnt receptor Frizzled to downstream elements.

Results: Very large Dvl3-based supermolecular complexes form in response to Wnt3a. These complexes are identified by steric-exclusion chromatography, affinity pull-downs, proteomics, and fluorescence correlation microscopy (fcs). In the current work, the roles of Dvl3 phosphorylation and of Axin in the assembly of Dvl3-based supermolecular complexes in response to Wnt3a are probed in totipotent mouse F9 teratocarcinoma cells. Point mutations of phosphorylation sites of Dvl3 which interfere with Lef/Tcf-sensitive transcriptional activation by Wnt3a are shown to interfere more proximally with the assembly of Dvl3-based supermolecular complexes. Axin, a Dvl-interacting protein, plays a central role in organizing the beta-catenin destruction complex. The assembly of Dvl3-based supermolecular complexes is blocked either by depletion of Axin or by mutation of Axin sites necessary for polymerization in response to Wnt3a.

Conclusion: These data demonstrate that Wnt3a activation of the canonical pathway requires specific phosphorylation events as well as Axin to assemble very large, Dvl3-based supermolecular complexes; these complexes are a prerequisite to activation of Lef/Tcf-sensitive transcription.


DishevelledOligomerizationSignalsomesPhosphorylationSupermolecular complexesWnt3aAxin
  • Year: 2012
  • Volume: 7
  • Page/Article: Art. 8
  • DOI: 10.1186/1750-2187-7-8
  • Submitted on 29 Feb 2012
  • Accepted on 2 Jun 2012
  • Published on 29 Jun 2012