Premise and peril of Wnt signaling activation through GSK-3β inhibition

Wnt signaling pathways have been extensively studied in the context of several diseases, including cancer, coronary artery disease, and age-related disorders. β-Catenin plays a central role in the most studied Wnt pathways, the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, commonly referred to as the canonical Wnt signaling pathway. β-catenin is a substrate of glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK-3β), and the phosphorylated β-catenin by GSK-3β can be degraded by the proteasome through ubiquitination. Thus, GSK-3β inhibitors have become a widely used chemical biology tool to study the canonical Wnt signaling pathway. Among the varied GSK-3β inhibitors, a compound known as CHIR-99021 is one of the most widely used. Although these inhibitors contribute greatly to our understanding of the canonical Wnt pathway, certain pitfalls associated with such an approach may have been overlooked. In many published studies, micromolar concentrations of CHIR-99021 are used to activate the canonical Wnt pathway. Although CHIR-99021 is a specific GSK-3β inhibitor, it specifically inhibits the kinase at the nanomolar level. Therefore, caution is required when micromolar levels of CHIR-99021 are used for the purpose of activating the canonical Wnt signaling pathway.

Related Products

Cat.No. Product Name Information
S2924 Laduviglusib (CHIR-99021) HCl Laduviglusib (CHIR-99021; CT99021) HCl is hydrochloride of CHIR-99021, which is a GSK-3α/β inhibitor with IC50 of 10 nM/6.7 nM; CHIR-99021 shows greater than 500-fold selectivity for GSK-3 versus its closest homologs Cdc2 and ERK2. CHIR-99021 is a potent pharmacological activators of the Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway. CHIR-99021 significantly rescues light-induced autophagy and augments GR, RORα and autophagy-related proteins.

Related Targets

GSK-3 Wnt/beta-catenin Autophagy