Novel mechanism of Wnt signalling inhibition mediated by Dickkopf-1 interaction with LRP6/Arrow

Anna Bafico, Guizhong Liu, Abraham Yaniv, Arnona Gazit, Stuart A. Aaronson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

683 Scopus citations


Wnt signalling has an important role in cell fate determination, tissue patterning and tumorigenesis1-4. Secreted antagonists of Wnt include Frizzled (Fz)-related proteins (FRPs)5-7, Cerberus8, Wnt inhibitory factor (WIF)9 and Dickkopf (Dkk)10,11. FRPs, Cerberus and WIF have all been shown to act by binding and sequestering Wnt. We report a novel mechanism of Wnt-signalling inhibition by human Dkk-1. Dkk-1 demonstrated no interaction with Wnt but bound a single cell surface site with high affinity (KD = 0.39 nM). Its receptor was detectable in a complex with a relative molecular mass of 240,000 (Mr 240K) with [125I] Dkk-1 by covalent affinity cross-linking. Wnt signalling through β-catenin is mediated by the Fz receptor12 and a recently identified low-density-lipoprotein-receptor-related co-receptor, LRP6/Arrow13-15. Overproduction of the 200K LRP6 protein, but not of Fz, strikingly increased Dkk-1 binding as well as the amount of the 240K cross-linked complex, which was shown to be composed of Dkk-1 and LRP6. Moreover, Dkk-1 function was completely independent of Fz but LRP6 dramatically interfered with the Dkk-1 inhibition of Wnt signalling. Thus, unlike Wnt antagonists, which exert their effects by molecular mimicry of Fz5-7 or Wnt sequestration through other mechanisms8,9, Dkk-1 specifically inhibits canonical Wnt signalling by binding to the LRP6 component of the receptor complex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-686
Number of pages4
JournalNature Cell Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2001


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