Canonical WNT/β-Catenin Signaling Activated by WNT9b and RSPO2 Cooperation Regulates Facial Morphogenesis in Mice

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MaineHealth Institute for Research

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Frontiers in cell and developmental biology


The R-spondin (RSPO) family of proteins potentiate canonical WNT/β-catenin signaling and may provide a mechanism to fine-tune the strength of canonical WNT signaling. Although several studies have clearly demonstrated the potentiation of canonical WNT signaling by RSPOs, whether this potentiation actually occurs in normal development and tissue function still remains poorly understood. Here, we provide clear evidence of the potentiation of canonical WNT signaling by RSPO during mouse facial development by analyzing compound and gene knockout mice and utilizing facial explants. double mutant mice display facial defects and dysregulated gene expression pattern that are significantly more severe than and different from those of or null mutant mice. Furthermore, we found suggestive evidence that the LGR4/5/6 family of the RSPO receptors may play less critical roles in WNT9b:RSPO2 cooperation. Our results suggest that RSPO-induced cooperation is a key mechanism for fine-tuning canonical WNT/β-catenin signaling in mouse facial development.



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