CACN-1/cactin plays a role in wnt signaling in C. elegans

M. LaBonty, C. Szmygiel, L.E. Byrnes, S. Hughes, A. Woollard, E.J. Cram

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Wnt signaling is tightly regulated during animal development and controls cell proliferation and differentiation. In C. elegans, activation of Wnt signaling alters the activity of the TCF/LEF transcription factor, POP-1, through activation of the Wnt/b-catenin or Wnt/b-catenin asymmetry pathways. In this study, we have identified CACN-1 as a potential regulator of POP-1 in C. elegans larval development. CACN-1/Cactin is a well-conserved protein of unknown molecular function previously implicated in the regulation of several developmental signaling pathways. Here we have used activation of POPTOP, a POP-1-responsive reporter construct, as a proxy for Wnt signaling. POPTOP requires POP-1 and SYS-1/-β-catenin for activation in L4 uterine cells. RNAi depletion experiments show that CACN-1 is needed to prevent excessive activation of POPTOP and for proper levels and/or localization of POP-1. Surprisingly, high POPTOP expression correlates with increased levels of POP-1 in uterine nuclei, suggesting POPTOP may not mirror endogenous gene expression in all respects. Genetic interaction studies suggest that CACN-1 may act partially through LIT-1/NLK to alter POP-1 localization and POPTOP activation. Additionally, CACN-1 is required for proper proliferation of larval seam cells. Depletion of CACN-1 results in a loss of POP-1 asymmetry and reduction of terminal seam cell number, suggesting an adoption of the anterior, differentiated fate by the posterior daughter cells. These findings suggest CACN-1/Cactin modulates Wnt signaling during larval development. © 2014 LaBonty et al.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere101945
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


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