Abstract

The comprehensive understanding of cellular signaling pathways remains a challenge due to multiple layers of regulation that may become evident only when the pathway is probed at different levels or critical nodes are eliminated. To discover regulatory mechanisms in canonical WNT signaling, we conducted a systematic forward genetic analysis through reporter-based screens in haploid human cells. Comparison of screens for negative, sensitizing and positive regulators of WNT signaling, mediators of R-spondin-dependent signaling and suppressors of constitutive signaling induced by loss of the tumor suppressor APC or casein kinase 1α uncovered new regulatory features at many levels of the pathway. These include a requirement for the transcription factor TFAP4, a role for the DAX domain of AXIN2 in controlling β-catenin activity, a contribution of GPI anchor biosynthetic enzymes and glypicans to R-spondin-potentiated signaling, and two different mechanisms that regulate signaling when distinct components of the β-catenin destruction complex are lost.

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