Wnt-dependent regulation of the E-cadherin repressor snail

In Yook Jong, Xiao Yan Li, Ichiro Ota, Eric R. Fearon, Stephen J. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

366 Citations (Scopus)


Down-regulation of E-cadherin marks the initiation of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition, a process exploited by invasive cancer cells. The zinc finger transcription factor, Snail, functions as a potent repressor of E-cadherin expression that can, acting alone or in concert with the Wnt/β-catenin/T cell factor axis, induce an epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Although mechanisms that coordinate signaling events initiated by Snail and Wnt remain undefined, we demonstrate that Snail displays β-catenin-like canonical motifs that support its GSK3β-dependent pfaospkorylation, β-TrCP-directed ubiquitination, and proteasomal degradation. Accordingly, Wnt signaling inhibits Snail phosphorylation and consequently increases Snail protein levels and activity while driving an in vivo epithelial-mesenchymal transition that is suppressed following Snail knockdown. These findings define a potential mechanism whereby Wnt signaling stabilizes Snail and β-catenin proteins in tandem fashion so as to cooperatively engage transcriptional programs that control an epithelial-mesenchymal transition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11740-11748
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Mar 25

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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