RING finger protein PLR-1 blocks Wnt signaling by altering trafficking of Wnt receptors
AuthorRobinson, Ryan Everitt
AdvisorClark, Scott G.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
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Secreted Wnt proteins control a wide range of essential developmental processes, including axon guidance and establishment of anteroposterior neuronal polarity. We identified a transmembrane RING finger protein, PLR-1, that governs the response to Wnts by reducing the cell surface levels of Wnt receptors Frizzled, CAM-1 and LIN-18 in <italic> Caenorhabditis elegans <italic>. Frizzled, CAM-1 and LIN-18 are normally enriched at the plasma membrane where they are capable of detecting and responding to extracellular Wnts. However, when PLR-1 is expressed Frizzled, CAM-1 and LIN-18 are no longer detected at the cell surface and instead colocalize with PLR-1 in endosomes and Golgi.PLR-1 is related to a broad family of transmembrane proteins that contain a lumenal protease associated domain and a cytosolic RING finger. The RING finger is a hallmark of one type of E3 ubiquitin ligase and monoubiquitination is commonly used to regulate protein trafficking. Protease associated domains are largely thought to mediate interactions between proteins. To identify the domains responsible for PLR-1 regulation of Frizzled from the cell surface we utilized a series of fluorescently tagged fusion proteins and protein truncations containing various domains from PLR-1 and Frizzled. Our data suggests that PLR-1 and Frizzled interact and form a complex via their respective extracellular/lumenal domains, and that ubiqiuitination of Frizzled by PLR-1 targets the Frizzled/PLR-1 complex to the endosome.