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The G protein-coupled receptor identity of the frizzled proteins

Receptors of the Frizzled family initiate Wnt ligand-dependent signal transduction cascades controlling multiple steps in organism development and are highly conserved in animal evolution. Misactivation of the Wnt/Frizzled signaling underlies many cases of cancerogenesis. Frizzled receptors possess seven transmembrane domains and their signaling depends on trimeric G proteins in various organisms. However, as Frizzled proteins constitute a distinct group within the superfamily of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR), and as Frizzled signaling can apparently be G protein-independent in some experimental setups, the GPCR nature of Frizzled receptors has been questioned. Here we demonstrate that human Frizzled receptors can directly bind the trimeric Go protein in a pertussis toxin-sensitive manner. Furthermore, addition of Wnt ligands elicits Frizzled-dependent guanine nucleotide exchange on Go. An excess of secreted Frizzled-related protein, a known antagonist of the Wnt/Frizzled pathways, inhibits Go activation, as does pretreatment of Go with pertussis toxin. These experiments provide a biochemical proof of the GPCR activities of Frizzled receptors. They also establish an in vitro assay of monitoring Frizzled activation by Wnt ligands, applicable for the high-throughput agonist/antagonist screening.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Katanaev, V., Buestorf, S. The G protein-coupled receptor identity of the frizzled proteins. Cell Commun Signal 7 (Suppl 1), A19 (2009).

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