Ectonucleotide pyrophosphatase 2 (ENPP2) plays a crucial role in myogenic differentiation through the regulation by WNT/β-Catenin signaling.

Document Type


Publication Date



Center for Molecular Medicine, Maine Medical Center Research Institute

Journal Title

The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology

MeSH Headings

Muscle Development, alkylglycerophosphoethanolamine phosphodiesterase, Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases, Cell Differentiation, Pyrophosphatases, Catenins


Ectonucleotide pyrophosphate phosphodiesterase type II (ENPP2), also known as Autotaxin (ATX), is an enzyme present in blood circulation that converts lysophosphatidyl choline (LPC) to lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). While LPA has been demonstrated to play diverse roles in skeletal myogenesis, mainly through in vitro studies, the role of ENPP2 in skeletal myogenesis has not been determined. We previously found that Enpp2 is induced by a positive WNT/β-Catenin signaling regulator, R-spondin2 (RSPO2), in C2C12 myoblast cells. As RSPO2 promotes myogenic differentiation via the WNT/β-Catenin signaling pathway, we hypothesized that ENPP2 may act as a key mediator for the crosstalk between WNT and LPA signaling during myogenic differentiation. Herein, we found that ENPP2 function is essential for myogenic differentiation in C2C12 cells. Pharmacological ENPP2 inhibitors or RNAi-mediated Enpp2 gene knockdown severely impaired the myogenic differentiation, including the cell fusion process, whereas administration of the recombinant ENPP2 protein enhanced myogenic differentiation. Consistent with the in vitro results, mice lacking the Enpp2 gene showed a disrupted muscle regeneration after acute muscle injury. The size of newly regenerated myofibers in Enpp2 mutant muscle was significantly reduced compared with wild-type regenerated muscle. Modified expression patterns of myogenic markers in Enpp2 mutant muscle further emphasized the impaired muscle regeneration process. Finally, we convincingly demonstrate that the Enpp2 gene is a direct transcriptional target for WNT/β-Catenin signaling. Functional TCF/LEF1 binding sites within the upstream region of Enpp2 gene were identified by chromatin immunoprecipitation using anti-β-Catenin antibodies and reporter assay. Our study reveals that ENPP2 is regulated by WNT/β-Catenin signaling and plays a key positive role in myogenic differentiation.



First Page


Last Page