Porcupine-mediated lipidation is required for Wnt recognition by Wls

Institute of Molecular Life Sciences, University of Zürich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH-8057 Zürich, Switzerland.
Developmental Biology (Impact Factor: 3.64). 11/2011; 361(2):392-402. DOI: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.11.003
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Wnt proteins are members of a conserved family of secreted signaling ligands and play crucial roles during development and in tissue homeostasis. There is increasing evidence that aberrant Wnt production is an underlying cause of dysregulated Wnt signaling, however little is known about this process. One protein known to play a role in secretion is the transmembrane protein Wntless (Wls). However, the mechanism by which Wls promotes Wnt secretion is a riddle. It is not known which Wnt family members require Wls and what the structural requirements are that make some of them reliant on Wls for secretion. Here we present a systematic analysis of all known Drosophila Wnt family members with respect to their dependence on Wls function for secretion. We first show that the glycosylation status of Wg at conserved sites does not determine its dependence on Wls. Moreover, in apparent contrast to murine wls, Drosophila wls is not a target gene of canonical Wnt signaling. We then show that all Wnts, with the exception of WntD, require Wls for secretion. All Wnts, with the exception of WntD, also contain a conserved Serine residue (in Wg S239), which we show to be essential for their functional and physical interaction with Wls. Finally, all Wnts, with the exception of WntD, require the acyltransferase Porcupine for activity and for functionally interacting with Wls. Together, these findings indicate that Por-mediated lipidation of the S239-equivalent residue is essential for the interaction with, and secretion by, Wls.

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