Brain beta-catenin signalling during stress and depression

Chuin Hau Teo, Tomoko Soga, Ishwar S. Parhar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Beta-catenin is a protein with dual functions in the cell, playing a role in both adhesion between cells as well as gene transcription via the canonical Wnt signalling pathway. In the canonical Wnt signalling pathway, beta-catenin again plays multiple roles. In the embryonic stage, the regulation of beta-catenin levels activates genes that govern cell proliferation and differentiation. In an adult organism, beta-catenin continues to regulate the cell cycle - as a result over-expression of beta-catenin may lead to cancer. In the brain, dysfunctions in Wnt signalling related to beta-catenin levels may also cause various pathological conditions like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and depression. Beta-catenin can be influenced by stressful conditions and increases in glucocorticoid levels. In addition, beta-catenin can be regulated by neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. Fluctuations in beta-catenin in brain regions under duress have been associated with depressive-like behaviours. It is theorized that the change in behaviour can be attributed to the regulation of Dicer by beta-catenin. Dicer, a protein that produces micro-RNAs in the cell, is a target gene for beta-catenin. Amongst the micro-RNA that it produces are those involved in stress resilience. In this way, beta-catenin has taken its place in the well-studied biochemistry of stress and depression, and future research into this interesting protein may yet yield fruitful results in that field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-42
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Glucocorticoids
  • GSK3?
  • miRNA
  • Serotonin
  • Wnt

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