The Wnt signalling cascade is essential for the development of both invertebrates and vertebrates, and is altered during tumorigenesis. Although a general framework for Wnt signalling has been elucidated, not all of the components have been identified. Here we describe a serine kinase, casein kinase I (CKI), which was isolated by expression cloning in Xenopus embryos. CKI reproduces several properties of Wnt signals, including generation of complete dorsal axes, stabilization of β-catenin and induction of genes that are direct targets of Wnt signals. Dominant-negative forms of CKI and a pharmacological blocker of CKI inhibited Wnt signals in Xenopus. Inhibiting CKI in Caenorhabditis elegans generated worms with a more phenotype, indicative of a loss of Wnt signals. In addition, CKI bound to and increased the phosphorylation of dishevelled, a known component of the Wnt pathway. These data indicate that CKI may be a conserved component of the Wnt pathway.
ASJC Scopus subject areas