The role of beta-catenin in cell adhesion, signal transduction, and cancer

Curr Opin Oncol. 1998 Jan;10(1):81-7. doi: 10.1097/00001622-199801000-00013.


Beta-catenin is a multifunctional protein that is both an integral component of adherens junctions and a pivotal member of a signal transduction pathway. The cytoplasmic pool of beta-catenin, which participates in signal transduction, is highly regulated. Binding to the adenomatous polyposis coli tumor suppressor protein can stimulate the degradation of beta-catenin, whereas signaling initiated by the extracellular Wnt-1 oncoprotein or selected mutations in beta-catenin itself results in the accumulation of higher levels of beta-catenin in the cytoplasm. A variety of experiments from several model systems have converged to elucidate the mechanisms involved in this regulation as well as the downstream effectors of beta-catenin. These studies have recently been extended to demonstrate that deregulation of this pathway contributes to cancer in humans.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / physiology*
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Trans-Activators*
  • beta Catenin


  • CTNNB1 protein, human
  • Cadherins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • beta Catenin