Wnt signaling plays a crucial role in a number of developmental processes and in tumorigenesis. beta-Catenin is stabilized by Wnt signaling and associates with the TCF/LEF family of transcription factors, thereby activating transcription of Wnt target genes. Constitutive activation of beta-catenin-TCF-mediated transcription resulting from mutations in adenomatous polyposis coli (APC), beta-catenin, or Axin is believed to be a critical step in tumorigenesis among divergent types of cancers. Here we show that the transactivation potential of the beta-catenin-TCF complex is enhanced by its interaction with a BCL9-like protein, B9L, in addition to BCL9. We found that B9L is required for enhanced beta-catenin-TCF-mediated transcription in colorectal tumor cells and for beta-catenin-induced transformation of RK3E cells. Furthermore, expression of B9L was aberrantly elevated in about 43% of colorectal tumors, relative to the corresponding noncancerous tissues. These results suggest that B9L plays an important role in tumorigenesis induced by aberrant activation of Wnt signaling.
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