LRP6 exerts non-canonical effects on Wnt signaling during neural tube closure.
ABSTRACT: Low-density lipoprotein receptor related protein 6 (Lrp6) mutational effects on neurulation were examined using gain (Crooked tail, Lrp6(Cd)) and loss (Lrp6(-)) of function mouse lines. Two features often associated with canonical Wnt signaling, dorsal-ventral patterning and proliferation, were no different from wild-type (WT) in the Lrp6(Cd/Cd) neural tube. Lrp6(-/-) embryos showed reduced proliferation and subtle patterning changes in the neural folds. Cell polarity defects in both Lrp6(Cd/Cd) and Lrp6(-/-) cranial folds were indicated by cell shape, centrosome displacement and failure of F-actin and GTP-RhoA accumulation at the apical surface. Mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) derived from Lrp6(Cd/Cd) or Lrp6(-/-) embryos exhibited elevated and decreased RhoA basal activity levels, respectively. While ligand-independent activation of canonical Wnt signaling, bypassing Lrp-Frizzled receptors, did not activate RhoA, non-canonical Wnt5a stimulation of RhoA activity was impaired in Lrp6(-/-) MEFs. RhoA inhibition exacerbated NTDs in cultured Lrp6 knockout embryos compared with WT littermates. In contrast, a ROCK inhibitor rescued Lrp6(Cd/Cd) embryos from NTDs. Lrp6 co-immunoprecipitated with Disheveled-associated activator of morphogenesis 1 (DAAM1), a formin promoting GEF activity in Wnt signaling. Biochemical and cell biological data revealed intracellular accumulation of Lrp6(Cd) protein where interaction with DAAM1 could account for observed elevated RhoA activity. Conversely, null mutation that eliminates Lrp6 interaction with DAAM1 led to lower basal RhoA activity in Lrp6(-/-) embryos. These results indicate that Lrp6 mediates not only canonical Wnt signaling, but can also modulate non-canonical pathways involving RhoA-dependent mechanisms to impact neurulation, possibly through intracellular complexes with DAAM1.
Project description:Crooked tail (Cd) mice bear a gain-of-function mutation in Lrp6, a co-receptor for canonical WNT signaling, and are a model of neural tube defects (NTDs), preventable with dietary folic acid (FA) supplementation. Whether the FA response reflects a direct influence of FA on LRP6 function was tested with prenatal supplementation in LRP6-deficient embryos. The enriched FA (10 ppm) diet reduced the occurrence of birth defects among all litters compared with the control (2 ppm FA) diet, but did so by increasing early lethality of Lrp6(-/-) embryos while actually increasing NTDs among nulls alive at embryonic days 10-13 (E10-13). Proliferation in cranial neural folds was reduced in homozygous Lrp6(-/-) mutants versus wild-type embryos at E10, and FA supplementation increased proliferation in wild-type but not mutant neuroepithelia. Canonical WNT activity was reduced in LRP6-deficient midbrain-hindbrain at E9.5, demonstrated in vivo by a TCF/LEF-reporter transgene. FA levels in media modulated the canonical WNT response in NIH3T3 cells, suggesting that although FA was required for optimal WNT signaling, even modest FA elevations attenuated LRP5/6-dependent canonical WNT responses. Gene expression analysis in embryos and adults showed striking interactions between targeted Lrp6 deficiency and FA supplementation, especially for mitochondrial function, folate and methionine metabolism, WNT signaling and cytoskeletal regulation that together implicate relevant signaling and metabolic pathways supporting cell proliferation, morphology and differentiation. We propose that FA supplementation rescues Lrp6(Cd/Cd) fetuses by normalizing hyperactive WNT activity, whereas in LRP6-deficient embryos, added FA further attenuates reduced WNT activity, thereby compromising development.
Project description:Wnt signaling has been classified as canonical Wnt/β-catenin-dependent or non-canonical planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway. Misregulation of either pathway is linked mainly to cancer or neural tube defects (NTDs), respectively. Both pathways seem to antagonize each other, and recent studies have implicated a number of molecular switches that activate one pathway while simultaneously inhibiting the other thereby partially mediating this antagonism. The lipoprotein receptor-related protein Lrp6 is crucial for the activation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, but its function in Wnt/PCP signaling remains largely unknown. In this study, we investigate the role of Lrp6 as a molecular switch between both Wnt pathways in a novel ENU mouse mutant of Lrp6 (Skax26(m1Jus)) and in human NTDs. We demonstrate that Skax26(m1Jus) represents a hypermorphic allele of Lrp6 with increased Wnt canonical and abolished PCP-induced JNK activities. We also show that Lrp6(Skax26-Jus) genetically interacts with a PCP mutant (Vangl2(Lp)) where double heterozygotes showed an increased frequency of NTDs and defects in cochlear hair cells' polarity. Importantly, our study also demonstrates the association of rare and novel missense mutations in LRP6 that is an inhibitor rather than an activator of the PCP pathway with human NTDs. We show that three LRP6 mutations in NTDs led to a reduced Wnt canonical activity and enhanced PCP signaling. Our data confirm an inhibitory role of Lrp6 in PCP signaling in neurulation and indicate the importance of a tightly regulated and highly dosage-sensitive antagonism between both Wnt pathways in this process.
Project description:Several single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) in low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 6 (Lrp6) cause neural tube defects (NTDs) in mice. We therefore examined LRP6 in 192 unrelated infants from California with the NTD, spina bifida, and found four heterozygous missense SNVs, three of which were predicted to be deleterious, among NTD cases and not in 190 ethnically matched nonmalformed controls. Parents and siblings could not be tested because of the study design. Like Crooked tail and Ringleschwanz mouse variants, the p.Tyr544Cys Lrp6 protein failed to bind the chaperone protein mesoderm development and impaired Lrp6 subcellular localization to the plasma membrane of MDCK II cells. Only the p.Tyr544Cys Lrp6 variant downregulated canonical Wnt signaling in a TopFlash luciferase reporter in vitro assay. In contrast, three Lrp6 mutants (p.Ala3Val, p.Tyr544Cys, and p.Arg1574Leu) increased noncanonical Wnt/planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling in an Ap1-luciferase assay. Thus, LRP6 variants outside of YWTD repeats could potentially predispose embryos to NTDs, whereas Lrp6 modulation of Wnt/PCP signaling would be more essential than its canonical pathway role in neural tube closure.
Project description:A cranial neural tube defect in Crooked tail (Cd) mice is prevented with prenatal dietary folic acid Cd positional cloning reveals a missense mutation of a highly conserved amino acid in the low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 6 (Lrp6), a coreceptor required for Wnt canonical signaling. Molecular modeling predicts that Lrp6(Cd) alters a hinge region of the second YWTD beta-propeller domain. Mutant LRP6 binds to Wnt and Dickkopf1 (Dkk1) but not Mesd1, and Dkk1 cannot antagonize Wnt in Cd/Cd cells, resulting in hyperactivity. NIH 3T3 cells transfected with a mutant Lrp6 plasmid resist Dkk1 antagonism much like Cd/+ cells, confirming the significance of the mutation. The Lrp6 mutation in Cd mice provides evidence for a functional connection between Wnt signaling and folate rescue of neural tube defects.
Project description:The Wnt-induced planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling pathway is essential for polarized cell migration and morphogenesis. Dishevelled (Dvl) and its binding protein Daam1 mediate RhoA activation in this pathway. WGEF, a member of the Rho-guanine nucleotide exchange factor (Rho-GEF) family, was shown to play a role in Wnt-induced RhoA activation in Xenopus embryos. However, it has remained unknown which member(s) of a Rho-GEF family are involved in Wnt/Dvl-induced RhoA activation in mammalian cells. Here we identified p114-RhoGEF and Lfc (also called GEF-H1) as the Rho-GEFs responsible for Wnt-3a-induced RhoA activation in N1E-115 mouse neuroblastoma cells. We screened for Rho-GEF-silencing short-hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) that are capable of suppressing Dvl-induced neurite retraction in N1E-115 cells and found that p114-RhoGEF and Lfc shRNAs, but not WGEF shRNA, suppressed Dvl- and Wnt-3a-induced neurite retraction. p114-RhoGEF and Lfc shRNAs also inhibited Dvl- and Wnt-3a-induced RhoA activation, and p114-RhoGEF and Lfc proteins were capable of binding to Dvl and Daam1. Additionally, the Dvl-binding domains of p114-RhoGEF and Lfc inhibited Dvl-induced neurite retraction. Our results suggest that p114-RhoGEF and Lfc are critically involved in Wnt-3a- and Dvl-induced RhoA activation and neurite retraction in N1E-115 cells.
Project description:Arsenic (As) and cadmium (Cd) are well-characterized teratogens in animal models inducing embryotoxicity and neural tube defects (NTDs) when exposed during neurulation. Toxicological research is needed to resolve the specific biological processes and associated molecular pathways underlying metal-induced toxicity during this timeframe in gestational development. In this study, we investigated the dose-dependent effects of As and Cd on gene expression in C57BL/6J mouse embryos exposed in utero during neurulation (GD8) to identify significantly altered genes and corresponding biological processes associated with embryotoxicity. We quantitatively examined the toxicogenomic dose-response relationship at the gene level. Our results suggest that As and Cd induce dose-dependent gene expression alterations representing shared (cell cycle, response to UV, glutathione metabolism, RNA processing) and unique (alcohol/sugar metabolism) biological processes, which serve as robust indicators of metal-induced developmental toxicity and indicate underlying embryotoxic effects. Our observations also correlate well with previously identified impacts of As and Cd on specific genes associated with metal-induced toxicity (Cdkn1a, Mt1). In summary, we have identified in a quantitative manner As and Cd induced dose-dependent effects on gene expression in mouse embryos during a peak window of sensitivity to embryotoxicity and NTDs in the sensitive C57BL/6J strain.
Project description:Kidneys are composed of numerous ciliated epithelial tubules called nephrons. Each nephron functions to reabsorb nutrients and concentrate waste products into urine. Defects in primary cilia are associated with abnormal formation of nephrons and cyst formation in a wide range of kidney disorders. Previous work in Xenopus laevis and zebrafish embryos established that loss of components that make up the Wnt/PCP pathway, Daam1 and ArhGEF19 (wGEF) perturb kidney tubulogenesis. Dishevelled, which activates both the canonical and non-canonical Wnt/PCP pathway, affect cilia formation in multiciliated cells. In this study, we investigated the role of the noncanoncial Wnt/PCP components Daam1 and ArhGEF19 (wGEF) in renal ciliogenesis utilizing polarized mammalian kidney epithelia cells (MDCKII and IMCD3) and Xenopus laevis embryonic kidney. We demonstrate that knockdown of Daam1 and ArhGEF19 in MDCKII and IMCD3 cells leads to loss of cilia, and Daam1's effect on ciliogenesis is mediated by the formin-activity of Daam1. Moreover, Daam1 co-localizes with the ciliary transport protein Ift88 and is present in cilia. Interestingly, knocking down Daam1 in Xenopus kidney does not lead to loss of cilia. These data suggests a new role for Daam1 in the formation of primary cilia.
Project description:Embryopathies that develop as a consequence of maternal diabetes have been studied intensely in both experimental and clinical scenarios. Accordingly, hyperglycaemia has been shown to downregulate the expression of elements in the non-canonical Wnt-PCP pathway, such as the Dishevelled-associated activator of morphogenesis 1 (Daam1) and Vangl2. Daam1 is a formin that is essential for actin polymerization and for cytoskeletal reorganization, and it is expressed strongly in certain organs during mouse development, including the eye, neural tube and heart. Daam1(gt/gt) and Daam1(gt/+) embryos develop ocular defects (anophthalmia or microphthalmia) that are similar to those detected as a result of hyperglycaemia. Indeed, studying the effects of maternal diabetes on the Wnt-PCP pathway demonstrated that there was strong association with the Daam1 genotype, whereby the embryopathy observed in Daam1(gt/+) mutant embryos of diabetic dams was more severe. There was evidence that embryonic exposure to glucose in vitro diminishes the expression of genes in the Wnt-PCP pathway, leading to altered cytoskeletal organization, cell shape and cell polarity in the optic vesicle. Hence, the Wnt-PCP pathway appears to influence cell morphology and cell polarity, events that drive the cellular movements required for optic vesicle formation and that, in turn, are required to maintain the fate determination. Here, we demonstrate that the Wnt-PCP pathway is involved in the early stages of mouse eye development and that it is altered by diabetes, provoking the ocular phenotype observed in the affected embryos.
Project description:Anencephaly is a fatal human neural tube defect (NTD) in which the anterior neural tube remains open. Zebrafish embryos with reduced Nodal signaling display an open anterior neural tube phenotype that is analogous to anencephaly. Previous work from our laboratory suggests that Nodal signaling acts through induction of the head mesendoderm and mesoderm. Head mesendoderm/mesoderm then, through an unknown mechanism, promotes formation of the polarized neuroepithelium that is capable of undergoing the movements required for closure. We compared the transcriptome of embryos treated with a Nodal signaling inhibitor at sphere stage, which causes NTDs, to embryos treated at 30% epiboly, which does not cause NTDs. This screen identified over 3,000 transcripts with potential roles in anterior neurulation. Expression of several genes encoding components of tight and adherens junctions was significantly reduced, supporting the model that Nodal signaling regulates formation of the neuroepithelium. mRNAs involved in Wnt, FGF, and BMP signaling were also differentially expressed, suggesting these pathways might regulate anterior neurulation. In support of this, we found that pharmacological inhibition of FGF-receptor function causes an open anterior NTD as well as loss of mesodermal derivatives. This suggests that Nodal and FGF signaling both promote anterior neurulation through induction of head mesoderm.
Project description:Environmental and genetic aberrations lead to neural tube closure defects (NTDs) in 1 out of every 1,000 births. Mouse and frog models for these birth defects have indicated that Van Gogh-like 2 (Vangl2, also known as Strabismus) and other components of planar cell polarity (PCP) signalling might control neurulation by promoting the convergence of neural progenitors to the midline. Here we show a novel role for PCP signalling during neurulation in zebrafish. We demonstrate that non-canonical Wnt/PCP signalling polarizes neural progenitors along the anteroposterior axis. This polarity is transiently lost during cell division in the neural keel but is re-established as daughter cells reintegrate into the neuroepithelium. Loss of zebrafish Vangl2 (in trilobite mutants) abolishes the polarization of neural keel cells, disrupts re-intercalation of daughter cells into the neuroepithelium, and results in ectopic neural progenitor accumulations and NTDs. Remarkably, blocking cell division leads to rescue of trilobite neural tube morphogenesis despite persistent defects in convergence and extension. These results reveal a function for PCP signalling in coupling cell division and morphogenesis at neurulation and indicate a previously unrecognized mechanism that might underlie NTDs.