Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Wnt morphogens control embryonic development and homeostasis in adult tissues. In vertebrates the N-terminal WIF domain (WIF-1(WD)) of Wnt inhibitory factor 1 (WIF-1) binds Wnt ligands. Our crystal structure of WIF-1(WD) reveals a previously unidentified binding site for phospholipid; two acyl chains extend deep into the domain, and the head group is exposed to the surface. Biophysical and cellular assays indicate that there is a WIF-1(WD) Wnt-binding surface proximal to the lipid head group but also implicate the five epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like domains (EGFs I-V) in Wnt binding. The six-domain WIF-1 crystal structure shows that EGFs I-V are wrapped back, interfacing with WIF-1(WD) at EGF III. EGFs II-V contain a heparan sulfate proteoglycan (HSPG)-binding site, consistent with conserved positively charged residues on EGF IV. This combination of HSPG- and Wnt-binding properties suggests a modular model for the localization of WIF-1 and for signal inhibition within morphogen gradients.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Struct Mol Biol

Publication Date





886 - 893


Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing, Amino Acid Motifs, Binding Sites, Glycosaminoglycans, HEK293 Cells, Humans, Lipid Metabolism, Models, Molecular, Protein Folding, Protein Structure, Tertiary, Repressor Proteins, Signal Transduction, Wnt Proteins