Protein proximity networks and functional evaluation of the casein kinase 1 gamma family reveal unique roles for CK1γ3 in WNT signaling

Megan J. Agajanian, Frances M. Potjewyd, Brittany M. Bowman, Smaranda Solomon, Kyle M. LaPak, Dhaval P. Bhatt, Jeffery L. Smith, Dennis Goldfarb, Alison D. Axtman, Michael B. Major

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Aberrant activation or suppression of WNT/β-catenin signaling contributes to cancer initiation and progression, neurodegeneration, and bone disease. However, despite great need and more than 40 years of research, targeted therapies for the WNT pathway have yet to be fully realized. Kinases are considered exceptionally druggable and occupy key nodes within the WNT signaling network, but several pathway-relevant kinases remain understudied and “dark.” Here, we studied the function of the casein kinase 1γ (CSNK1γ) subfamily of human kinases and their roles in WNT signaling. miniTurbo-based proximity biotinylation and mass spectrometry analysis of CSNK1γ1, CSNK1γ2, and CSNK1γ3 revealed numerous components of the β-catenin–dependent and β-catenin–independent WNT pathways. In gain-of-function experiments, we found that CSNK1γ3 but not CSNK1γ1 or CSNK1γ2 activated β-catenin–dependent WNT signaling, with minimal effect on other signaling pathways. We also show that within the family, CSNK1γ3 expression uniquely induced low-density lipoprotein receptor–related protein 6 phosphorylation, which mediates downstream WNT signaling transduction. Conversely, siRNA-mediated silencing of CSNK1γ3 alone had no impact on WNT signaling, though cosilencing of all three family members decreased WNT pathway activity. Finally, we characterized two moderately selective and potent small-molecule inhibitors of the CSNK1γ family. We show that these inhibitors and a CSNK1γ3 kinase–dead mutant suppressed but did not eliminate WNT-driven low-density lipoprotein receptor–related protein 6 phosphorylation and β-catenin stabilization. Our data suggest that while CSNK1γ3 expression uniquely drives pathway activity, potential functional redundancy within the family necessitates loss of all three family members to suppress the WNT signaling pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101986
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • WNT signaling
  • casein kinase 1 gamma
  • kinase inhibitor
  • protein kinase
  • proteomics


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