The dishevelled (dsh) gene family encodes cytoplasmic proteins that have been implicated in Wnt/Wingless (Wg) signaling. To demonstrate functional conservation of Dsh family proteins, two mouse homologs of Drosophila Dsh, Dvl-1 and Dvl-2, were biochemically characterized in mouse and Drosophila cell culture systems. We found that treatment with a soluble Wnt-3A leads to hyperphosphorylation of Dvl proteins and a concomitant elevation of the cytoplasmic beta-catenin levels in mouse NIH3T3, L, and C57MG cells. This coincides well with our finding in a Drosophila wing disc cell line, clone-8, that Wg treatment induced hyperphosphorylation of Dsh (Yanagawa, S., van Leeuwen, F., Wodarz, A., Klingensmith, J., and Nusse, R. (1995) Genes Dev. 9, 1087-1097). Furthermore, we showed that mouse Dvl proteins affect downstream components of Drosophila Wg signaling as Dsh does; overexpression of Dvl proteins in clone-8 cells results in elevation of Armadillo (Drosophila homolog of beta-catenin) and Drosophila E-cadherin levels, hyperphosphorylation of Dvl proteins themselves, and inhibition of Zeste-White3 kinase-mediated phosphorylation of a microtubule-binding protein, Tau. In addition, casein kinase II was shown to coimmunoprecipitate with Dvl proteins, and Dvl proteins were phosphorylated in these immune complexes. These results are direct evidence that Dsh family proteins mediate a set of conserved biochemical processes in the Wnt/Wg signaling pathway.
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