Recent studies indicate that plakoglobin may have a similar function to that of beta-catenin within the Wnt signaling pathway. beta-catenin is known to be an oncogene in many forms of human cancer, following acquisition of stabilizing mutations in amino terminal sequences. Kolligs(1) and coworkers show, however, that unlike beta-catenin, plakoglobin induces neoplastic transformation of rat epithelial cells in the absence of such stabilizing mutations. Cellular transformation by plakoglobin also appears to be distinct from that of beta-catenin in that it requires activation of the proto-oncogene c-myc. Surprisingly, c-myc is activated more efficiently by plakoglobin than beta-catenin, despite its previous identification as a target of Tcf/beta-catenin.(2) In contrast, a synthetic Tcf reporter gene is activated to a much greater extent by beta-catenin than plakoglobin. Plakoglobin and beta-catenin may therefore have different roles in Wnt signaling and cancer, which reflect their differential effects on target gene activity.