Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) is an important tumour suppressor in the mammalian intestinal epithelium. It binds to beta-catenin and its role as a tumour suppressor depends predominantly on its ability to downregulate soluble beta-catenin, a key effector of the Wnt signalling pathway. However, epithelial cells have a distinct subcellular pool of beta-catenin, or Drosophila Armadillo, which functions as a structural component of adherens junctions. Notably, APC proteins can be associated with these adherens junctions, and recent evidence points to a role for APC in cellular adhesion. Thus, APC--like beta-catenin/Armadillo--may have a dual role in Wnt signal transduction and in cellular adhesion, which could be relevant to its activity as a tumour suppressor.
Copyright 2004 Elsevier Ltd.