Nuclear localization of beta-catenin by interaction with transcription factor LEF-1

Mech Dev. 1996 Sep;59(1):3-10. doi: 10.1016/0925-4773(96)00597-7.


Vertebrate beta-catenin and Drosophila Armadillo share structural similarities suggesting that beta-catenin, like Armadillo, has a developmental signaling function. Both proteins are present as components of cell adherens junctions, but accumulate in the cytoplasm upon Wingless/Wnt signaling. beta-Catenin has axis-inducing properties like Wnt when injected into Xenopus blastomeres, providing evidence for participation of beta-catenin in the Wnt-pathway, but until now no downstream targets for beta-catenin have been identified. Here we demonstrate that beta-catenin binds to the HMG-type transcription factor lymphoid enhancer factor-1 (LEF-1), resulting in a nuclear translocation of beta-catenin both in cultured mouse cells and after ectopic expression of LEF-1 in two-cell mouse embryos. LEF-1/beta-catenin complexes bind to the promoter region of the E-cadherin gene in vitro, suggesting that this interaction could regulate E-cadherin transcription. As shown for beta-catenin, ectopic expression of LEF-1 in Xenopus embryos caused duplication of the body axis, indicating a regulatory role for a LEF-1-like molecule in dorsal mesoderm formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cadherins / genetics
  • Cadherins / metabolism
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila
  • Fetus / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Lymphoid Enhancer-Binding Factor 1
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Binding
  • Trans-Activators*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Xenopus
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • beta Catenin


  • CTNNB1 protein, Xenopus
  • CTNNB1 protein, mouse
  • Cadherins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Lef1 protein, mouse
  • Lymphoid Enhancer-Binding Factor 1
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • beta Catenin