Wnt signaling suppresses MAPK-driven proliferation of intestinal stem cells.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Intestinal homeostasis depends on a slowly proliferating stem cell compartment in crypt cells, followed by rapid proliferation of committed progenitor cells in the transit amplifying (TA) compartment. The balance between proliferation and differentiation in intestinal stem cells (ISCs) is regulated by Wnt/β-catenin signaling, although the mechanism remains unclear. We previously targeted PORCN, an enzyme essential for all Wnt secretion, and demonstrated that stromal production of Wnts was required for intestinal homeostasis. Here, a PORCN inhibitor was used to acutely suppress Wnt signaling. Unexpectedly, the treatment induced an initial burst of proliferation in the stem cell compartment of the small intestine, due to conversion of ISCs into TA cells with a loss of intrinsic ISC self-renewal. This process involved MAPK pathway activation, as the proliferating cells in the base of the intestinal crypt contained phosphorylated ERK1/2, and a MEK inhibitor attenuated the proliferation of ISCs and their differentiation into TA cells. These findings suggest a role for Wnt signaling in suppressing the MAPK pathway at the crypt base to maintain a pool of ISCs. The interaction between Wnt and MAPK pathways in vivo has potential therapeutic applications in cancer and regenerative medicine.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kabiri, Z; Greicius, G; Zaribafzadeh, H; Hemmerich, A; Counter, CM; Virshup, DM

Published Date

  • August 31, 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 128 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 3806 - 3812

PubMed ID

  • 30059017

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6118584

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1558-8238

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1172/JCI99325


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States