Activation of Wnt signaling entails βcatenin protein stabilization and translocation to the nucleus to regulate context-specific transcriptional programs. The majority of colorectal cancers (CRCs) initiate following APC mutations, resulting in Wnt ligand—independent stabilization and nuclear accumulation of βcatenin. The mechanisms underlying βcatenin nucleocytoplasmic shuttling remain incompletely defined. Using a novel, positive selection, functional genomic strategy, DEADPOOL, we performed a genome-wide CRISPR screen and identified IPO11 as a required factor for βcatenin-mediated transcription in APC mutant CRC cells. IPO11 (Importin-11) is a nuclear import protein that shuttles cargo from the cytoplasm to the nucleus. IPO11−/− cells exhibit reduced nuclear βcatenin protein levels and decreased βcatenin target gene activation, suggesting IPO11 facilitates βcatenin nuclear import. IPO11 knockout decreased colony formation of CRC cell lines and decreased proliferation of patient-derived CRC organoids. Our findings uncover a novel nuclear import mechanism for βcatenin in cells with high Wnt activity.

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