A crucial role for Nox 1 in redox-dependent regulation of Wnt-β-catenin signaling

FASEB J. 2012 May;26(5):2049-59. doi: 10.1096/fj.11-196360. Epub 2012 Jan 25.


Canonical Wnt signaling critically regulates cell fate and proliferation in developmental stages and adult tissues. Redox regulation through nucleoredoxin (NRX) has recently been identified in canonical Wnt signaling. However, the source of reactive oxygen species (ROS) affecting the redox state of NRX remains elusive. Our principal aim in this study was to investigate whether superoxide-generating NADPH oxidase1 (Nox1) is involved in NRX-regulated Wnt signaling in intestinal and colon epithelial cells. Here, we demonstrate that Wnt treatment of mouse intestinal cells induces production of ROS through Nox1. This Nox1 action is regulated by Rac1 GTPase through Wnt-induced activation of the Rac1 guanine nucleotide exchange factor Vav2 by Src-mediated tyrosine phosphorylation. Nox1-generated ROS oxidize and inactivate NRX, thereby releasing the NRX-dependent suppression of Wnt-β-catenin signaling through dissociation of NRX from Dvl. Nox1 small-interference RNA inhibits cell response to Wnt, including stabilization of β-catenin, expression of cyclin D1 and c-Myc via the TCF transcription factor, and accelerated cell proliferation. Nox1 mediates Wnt-induced cell growth in colon cancer cells with the normal Wnt pathway, but not in APC-deficient colon cancer cells, which are constitutively active in Wnt signaling. Together, these results suggest the mediating role of Nox1 in redox-dependent regulation of canonical Wnt-β-catenin signaling and provide further insight into the regulatory mechanism of the Wnt pathway.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Mice
  • NADH, NADPH Oxidoreductases / physiology*
  • NADPH Oxidase 1
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism*
  • beta Catenin / metabolism*


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Wnt Proteins
  • beta Catenin
  • NADH, NADPH Oxidoreductases
  • NADPH Oxidase 1
  • NOX1 protein, mouse