A key step in the canonical Wnt signalling pathway is the inhibition of GSK3β, which results in the accumulation of nuclear β-catenin (also known as CTNNB1), and hence regulation of target genes. Evidence suggests that endocytosis is required for signalling, yet its role and the molecular understanding remains unclear. A recent and controversial model suggests that endocytosis contributes to Wnt signalling by causing the sequestration of the ligand-receptor complex, including LRP6 and GSK3 to multivesicular bodies (MVBs), thus preventing GSK3β from accessing β-catenin. Here, we use specific inhibitors (Dynasore and Dyngo-4a) to confirm the essential role of endocytosis in Wnt/Wingless signalling in human and Drosophila cells. However, we find no evidence that, in Drosophila cells or wing imaginal discs, LRP6/Arrow traffics to MVBs or that MVBs are required for Wnt/Wingless signalling. Moreover, we show that activation of signalling through chemical blockade of GSK3β is prevented by endocytosis inhibitors, suggesting that endocytosis impacts on Wnt/Wingless signalling downstream of the ligand-receptor complex. We propose that, through an unknown mechanism, endocytosis boosts the resting pool of β-catenin upon which GSK3β normally acts.
Keywords: Endocytosis; Signalling; Wnt; β-catenin.
© 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.