Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) is an important tumor suppressor in the colon. APC antagonizes the transcriptional activity of the Wnt effector beta-catenin by promoting its nuclear export and its proteasomal destruction in the cytoplasm. Here, we show that a third function of APC in antagonizing beta-catenin involves C-terminal binding protein (CtBP). APC is associated with CtBP in vivo and binds to CtBP in vitro through its conserved 15 amino acid repeats. Failure of this association results in elevated levels of beta-catenin/TCF complexes and of TCF-mediated transcription. Notably, CtBP is neither associated with TCF in vivo nor does mutation of the CtBP binding motifs in TCF-4 alter its transcriptional activity. This questions the idea that CtBP is a direct corepressor of TCF. Our evidence indicates that APC is an adaptor between beta-catenin and CtBP and that CtBP lowers the availability of free nuclear beta-catenin for binding to TCF by sequestering APC/beta-catenin complexes.
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