Detection of β-Catenin Localization by Immunohistochemistry

  • Nick Barker
  • Maaike van den Born
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology™ book series (MIMB, volume 468)


β-catenin is a widely expressed 90-kDa protein with dual functions in cell adhesion and Wnt signalling. At the membrane, β-catenin forms complexes with E-cadherin to generate cell adhesion complexes responsible for maintaining the structural integrity of many epithelial tissues. On the other hand, accumulation of β-catenin in the nucleus in response to Wnt signalling facilitates complex formation with Tcf transcription factors, leading to activation of a genetic program influencing a range of cellular processes including cell growth, cell movement, and cell fate. Chronic activation of the Wnt signalling pathway as a result of mutations in key pathway components, including β-catenin itself, is a major cause of cancer. The associated increase in nuclear β-catenin protein is therefore considered to be a hallmark of Wnt-driven cancers and an invaluable tool to detect active Wnt signalling.

Key words

Immunohistochemistry Antibody Wnt signalling β-catenin Nuclear localization 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nick Barker
    • 1
  • Maaike van den Born
    • 1
  1. 1.Hubrecht Institute for Developmental Biology and Stem Cell ResearchUtrechtThe Netherlands

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