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Self-association of the APC tumor suppressor is required for the assembly, stability, and activity of the Wnt signaling destruction complex.
The tumor suppressor Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) is an essential negative regulator of Wnt signaling through its activity in the destruction complex with Axin, GSK3β and CK1 that targets ß-catenin/Armadillo (ß-cat/Arm) for proteosomal degradation. The destruction complex forms macromolecular particles we termed the destructosome. While APC functions in the complex through its ability to bind both ß-cat and Axin, we hypothesize that APC proteins play an additional role in destructosome assembly through self-association. Here we show that a novel N-terminal coil, the APC Self-Association Domain (ASAD), found in vertebrate and invertebrate APCs, directly mediates self-association of Drosophila APC2 and plays an essential role in the assembly and stability of the destructosome that regulates ß-cat degradation in Drosophila and human cells. Consistent with this, removal of the ASAD from the Drosophila embryo results in ß-cat/Arm accumulation and aberrant Wnt pathway activation. These results suggest that APC proteins are required not only for the activity of the destructosome, but also for the assembly and stability of this macromolecular machine.