Homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2) targets beta-catenin for phosphorylation and proteasomal degradation

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2010 Apr 16;394(4):966-71. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2010.03.099. Epub 2010 Mar 20.


The regulation of intracellular beta-catenin levels is central in the Wnt/beta-catenin signaling cascade and the activation of the Wnt target genes. Here, we show that homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2) acts as a negative regulator of the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway. Knock-down of endogenous HIPK2 increases the stability of beta-catenin and results in the accumulation of beta-catenin in the nucleus, consequently enhancing the expression of Wnt target genes and cell proliferation both in vivo and in cultured cells. HIPK2 inhibits TCF/LEF-mediated target gene activation via degradation of beta-catenin. HIPK2 phosphorylates beta-catenin at its Ser33 and Ser37 residues without the aid of a priming kinase. Substitutions of Ser33 and Ser37 for alanines abolished the degradation of beta-catenin associated with HIPK2. In ex vivo mouse model, HIPK2 knock-down resulted in accumulation of beta-catenin, thereby potentiated beta-catenin-mediated cell proliferation and tumor formation. Furthermore, the axis duplication induced by the ectopic expression of beta-catenin was blocked by co-injection of HIPK2 mRNAs into Xenopus embryos. Taken together, HIPK2 appears to function as a novel negative regulator of beta-catenin through its phosphorylation and proteasomal degradation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / metabolism*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Two-Hybrid System Techniques
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism*
  • Xenopus
  • beta Catenin / metabolism*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Wnt Proteins
  • beta Catenin
  • Hipk2 protein, mouse
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex