LKB1 (XEEK1) regulates Wnt signalling in vertebrate development

Nat Cell Biol. 2003 Oct;5(10):889-94. doi: 10.1038/ncb1048. Epub 2003 Sep 14.


Germline LKB1/STK11 mutations are associated with the cancer-prone Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS) in humans, and nullizygosity provokes a poorly understood constellation of developmental perturbations in the mid-gestational mouse. To gain a better understanding of the processes regulated by LKB1, we have exploited the experimental merits of the developing Xenopus embryo. Here, specific inhibition of XEEK1, the Xenopus orthologue of LKB1, engendered developmental anomalies - shortened body axis and defective dorsoanterior patterning - associated previously with aberrant Wnt signalling. In line with this, LKB1/XEEK1 cooperates with the Wnt-beta-catenin signalling in axis induction and modulates the expression of Wnt-responsive genes in both Xenopus embryos and mammalian cells. We establish that LKB1/XEEK1 acts upstream of beta-catenin in the Wnt-beta-catenin pathway in vivo. LKB1/XEEK1 regulates glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)3beta phosphorylation and it is physically associated in vivo with GSK3beta and protein kinase C (PKC)-zeta, a known GSK3 kinase. These studies show that LKB1/XEEK1 is required for Wnt-beta-catenin signalling in frogs and mammals and provides novel insights into its role in vertebrate developmental patterning and carcinogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 / genetics
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 / metabolism
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Mice
  • Morphogenesis
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Xenopus / embryology*
  • Xenopus / growth & development*
  • Xenopus / physiology
  • Xenopus Proteins*
  • Zebrafish Proteins*
  • beta Catenin


  • CTNNB1 protein, Xenopus
  • CTNNB1 protein, human
  • CTNNB1 protein, mouse
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • Zebrafish Proteins
  • beta Catenin
  • STK11 protein, Xenopus
  • GSK3B protein, human
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta
  • Gsk3b protein, mouse
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3