Dr Mariann Bienz

MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

NHS or other affiliations
Protein and Nucleic Acid Chemistry Division

Position: Deputy Director
Personal home page: https://www2.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk/groups/bienz/
Email:   mb2@mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk

PubMed journal articles - click here

Dr Mariann Bienz is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.

Research description

Hyperactivation of the Wnt pathway has been linked to a wide range of cancers. Notably, the majority of colorectal cancers are due to inactivating mutations of the APC tumour suppressor, or to activating mutations in beta-catenin, a key effector of the canonical Wnt pathway. In normal development, this pathway controls cell proliferation and differentiation in many tissues, including the intestinal stem cell compartment. Our aim is to understand the molecular events underlying Wnt signal transduction. We focus on positively-acting components of this pathway that are potential drug targets, and on their molecular interactions. These include the recently discovered Pygopus-BCL9 complex that facilitates the transcriptional activity of beta-catenin in colorectal cancer cell lines. We also study Dishevelled and its role as a dynamic polymeric adaptor between the Wnt transmembrane receptors and the Axin-APC complex, which itself promotes the inactivation and degradation of beta-catenin.

Research Programme or Virtual Institute
Fundamental Biology of Cancer
Secondary Programme
Fundamental Biology of Cancer
Methods and technologies
Cell culture
Confocal microscopy
Fluorescence microscopy
Model organisms
Protein biochemistry
Protein purification
Recombinant protein expression
X-ray crystallography
Tumour type interests
Recent publications:
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Key publications

Gammons M1, Renko M1, Johnson CM, Rutherford TJ & Bienz M (2016) Wnt signalosome assembly by DEP domain swapping of Dishevelled. Mol Cell 64, 92-104
van Tienen LM, Mieszczanek J, Fiedler M, Rutherford TJ & Bienz M (2017) Constitutive scaffolding of multiple Wnt enhanceosome components by Legless/BCL9. eLife 6, e20882
Flack JE, Mieszczanek J, Novcic N & Bienz M (2017) Wnt-dependent inactivation of the Groucho/TLE co-repressor by the HECT E3 ubiquitin ligase Hyd/UBR5. Mol Cell 67, 181-193
Mieszczanek J, van Tienen LM, Ibrahim AEK, Winton DJ & Bienz M (2019) Bcl9 and Pygo synergise downstream of Apc to effect intestinal neoplasia in FAP mouse models. Nature Comm 10, 1038

Dishevelled signalosomes (green) in a mammalian cell (red, microtubules)