Apical localization of wingless transcripts is required for wingless signaling

Cell. 2001 Apr 20;105(2):197-207. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(01)00311-7.


Many developing and adult tissues are comprised of polarized epithelia. Proteins that are asymmetrically distributed in these cells are thought to be localized by protein trafficking. Here we show that the distribution and function of the signaling protein Wingless is predetermined by the subcellular localization of its mRNA. High-resolution in situ hybridization reveals apical transcript localization in the majority of tissues examined. This localization is mediated by two independently acting elements in the 3' UTR. Replacement of these elements with non- or basolaterally localizing elements yields proteins with altered intracellular and extracellular distributions and reduced signaling activities. This novel aspect of the wingless signaling pathway is conserved and may prove to be a mechanism used commonly for establishing epithelial cell polarity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions / genetics
  • 3' Untranslated Regions / metabolism*
  • Active Transport, Cell Nucleus
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Polarity*
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Ectoderm / cytology
  • Ectoderm / physiology
  • Genes, Reporter / genetics
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Transgenes*
  • Wnt1 Protein


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Wnt1 Protein
  • wg protein, Drosophila