Analysis of Wnt signaling beta-catenin spatial dynamics in HEK293T cells
Publication Year 2014, Volume 8, Issue #1, Page 44
Journal Title
BMC systems biology
Publication Type
Journal Article
BACKGROUND: Wnt/beta-catenin signaling is involved in different stages of mammalian development and implicated in various cancers (e.g. colorectal cancer). Recent experimental and computational studies have revealed characteristics of the pathway, however a cell-specific spatial perspective is lacking. In this study, a novel 3D confocal quantitation protocol is developed to acquire spatial (two cellular compartments: nucleus and cytosol-membrane) and temporal quantitative data on target protein (e.g. beta-catenin) concentrations in Human Epithelial Kidney cells (HEK293T) during perturbation (with either cycloheximide or Wnt3A). Computational models of the Wnt pathway are constructed and interrogated based on this data. RESULTS: A single compartment Wnt pathway model is compared with a simple beta-catenin two compartment model to investigate Wnt3A signaling in HEK293T cells. When protein synthesis is inhibited, beta-catenin decreases at the same rate in both cellular compartments, suggesting diffusional transport is fast compared to beta-catenin degradation in the cytosol. With Wnt3A stimulation, the total amount of beta-catenin rises throughout the cell, however the increase is initially (~first hour) faster in the nuclear compartment. While both models were able to reproduce the whole cell changes in beta-catenin, only the compartment model reproduced the Wnt3A induced changes in beta-catenin distribution and it was also the best fit for the data obtained when active transport was included alongside passive diffusion transport. CONCLUSIONS: This integrated 3D quantitation imaging protocol and computational modeling approach allowed cell-specific compartment models of the signaling pathways to be constructed and analyzed. The Wnt models constructed in this study are the first for HEK293T and have suggested potential roles of inter-compartment transport to the dynamics of signaling.
WEHI Research Division(s)
Structural Biology
Open Access at Publisher's Site
Rights Notice
© 2014 Tan et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Creation Date: 2014-05-14 03:02:19
Last Modified: 0001-01-01 12:00:00
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