The ciliary protein nephrocystin-4 translocates the canonical Wnt regulator Jade-1 to the nucleus to negatively regulate β-catenin signaling

J Biol Chem. 2012 Jul 20;287(30):25370-80. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.385658. Epub 2012 May 31.


Nephronophthisis (NPH) is an autosomal-recessive cystic kidney disease and represents the most common genetic cause for end-stage renal disease in children and adolescents. It can be caused by the mutation of genes encoding for the nephrocystin proteins (NPHPs). All NPHPs localize to primary cilia, classifying this disease as a "ciliopathy." The primary cilium is a critical regulator of several cell signaling pathways. Cystogenesis in the kidney is thought to involve overactivation of canonical Wnt signaling, which is negatively regulated by the primary cilium and several NPH proteins, although the mechanism remains unclear. Jade-1 has recently been identified as a novel ubiquitin ligase targeting the canonical Wnt downstream effector β-catenin for proteasomal degradation. Here, we identify Jade-1 as a novel component of the NPHP protein complex. Jade-1 colocalizes with NPHP1 at the transition zone of primary cilia and interacts with NPHP4. Furthermore, NPHP4 stabilizes protein levels of Jade-1 and promotes the translocation of Jade-1 to the nucleus. Finally, NPHP4 and Jade-1 additively inhibit canonical Wnt signaling, and this genetic interaction is conserved in zebrafish. The stabilization and nuclear translocation of Jade-1 by NPHP4 enhances the ability of Jade-1 to negatively regulate canonical Wnt signaling. Loss of this repressor function in nephronophthisis might be an important factor promoting Wnt activation and contributing to cyst formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Active Transport, Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • Adolescent
  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases, Cystic / congenital
  • Kidney Diseases, Cystic / genetics
  • Kidney Diseases, Cystic / metabolism
  • Male
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway*
  • Zebrafish / genetics
  • Zebrafish / metabolism*
  • Zebrafish Proteins / genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins / metabolism*
  • beta Catenin / genetics
  • beta Catenin / metabolism*


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • JADE1 protein, human
  • NPHP4 protein, human
  • Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Zebrafish Proteins
  • beta Catenin
  • nephrocystin-4, zebrafish

Supplementary concepts

  • Nephronophthisis, familial juvenile