Wnt signaling from membrane to nucleus: β-catenin caught in a loop

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2012 Jun;44(6):847-50. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2012.03.001. Epub 2012 Mar 14.


β-catenin is the central nuclear effector of the Wnt signaling pathway, and regulates other cellular processes including cell adhesion. Wnt stimulation of cells culminates in the nuclear translocation of β-catenin and transcriptional activation of target genes that function during both normal and malignant development. Constitutive activation of the Wnt pathway leads to inappropriate nuclear accumulation of β-catenin and gene transactivation, an important step in cancer progression. This has generated interest in the mechanisms regulating β-catenin nuclear accumulation and retention. Here we discuss recent advances in understanding feedback loops that trap β-catenin in the nucleus and provide potential insights into Wnt signaling and the development of anti-cancer drugs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Feedback
  • Humans
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism*
  • beta Catenin / metabolism*


  • Wnt Proteins
  • beta Catenin