Background: β-Catenin is a key downstream effector in the Wnt signaling pathway (1). It is implicated in two major biological processes in vertebrates: early embryonic development (2) and tumorigenesis (3). CK1 phosphorylates β-catenin at Ser45. This phosphorylation event primes β-catenin for subsequent phosphorylation by GSK-3β (4-6). GSK-3β destabilizes β-catenin by phosphorylating it at Ser33, Ser37, and Thr41 (7). Mutations at these sites result in the stabilization of β-catenin protein levels and have been found in many tumor cell lines (8).
Background: Bruton's tyrosine kinase (Btk) is a member of the Btk/Tec family of cytoplasmic tyrosine kinases. Like other Btk family members, it contains a pleckstrin homology (PH) domain and Src homology SH3 and SH2 domains. Btk plays an important role in B cell development (1,2). Activation of B cells by various ligands is accompanied by Btk membrane translocation mediated by its PH domain binding to phosphatidylinositol-3,4,5-trisphosphate (3-5). The membrane-localized Btk is active and associated with transient phosphorylation of two tyrosine residues, Tyr551 and Tyr223. Tyr551 in the activation loop is transphosphorylated by the Src family tyrosine kinases, leading to autophosphorylation at Tyr223 within the SH3 domain, which is necessary for full activation (6,7). The activation of Btk is negatively regulated by PKCβ through phosphorylation of Btk at Ser180, which results in reduced membrane recruitment, transphosphorylation, and subsequent activation (8). The PKC inhibitory signal is likely to be a key determinant of the B cell receptor signaling threshold to maintain optimal Btk activity (8).
Background: Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) was initially identified as an enzyme that regulates glycogen synthesis in response to insulin (1). GSK-3 is a ubiquitously expressed serine/threonine protein kinase that phosphorylates and inactivates glycogen synthase. GSK-3 is a critical downstream element of the PI3K/Akt cell survival pathway whose activity can be inhibited by Akt-mediated phosphorylation at Ser21 of GSK-3α and Ser9 of GSK-3β (2,3). GSK-3 has been implicated in the regulation of cell fate in Dictyostelium and is a component of the Wnt signaling pathway required for Drosophila, Xenopus, and mammalian development (4). GSK-3 has been shown to regulate cyclin D1 proteolysis and subcellular localization (5).