A hallmark of Spemann organizer function is its expression of Wnt antagonists that regulate axial embryonic patterning. Here we identify the tumor suppressor Protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor-type kappa (Ptprk), as a Wnt inhibitor of the Spemann organizer. We show that PTPRK acts via the transmembrane E3 ubiquitin ligase ZNRF3, a negative regulator of Wnt signaling promoting Wnt receptor degradation, which is also expressed in the organizer. Deficiency of ptprk increases Wnt signaling, leading to reduced expression of Spemann organizer effector genes and inducing head and axial defects. We identify a '4Y' endocytic signal in ZNRF3, which Ptprk maintains unphosphorylated to promote Wnt receptor depletion. Our discovery of PTPRK as a negative regulator of Wnt receptor turnover provides a rationale for its tumor suppressive function and reveals that in PTPRK-RSPO3 recurrent cancer fusions both fusion partners, in fact, encode ZNRF3 regulators.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript.
Genome-wide analysis of dorsal and ventral transcriptomes of the Xenopus laevis gastrulaNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE75278.
- Ling-Shih Chang
- Minseong Kim
- Andrey Glinka
- Carmen Reinhard
- Christof Niehrs
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All Xenopus experiments were approved by the state review board of Baden-Wuerttemberg , Germany (License number: G-13/186 & G-141/18) and performed according to the federal and institutional guideline.
- Roel Nusse, Stanford University, United States
© 2020, Chang et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Pancreatic a-cells secrete glucagon, an insulin counter-regulatory peptide hormone critical for the maintenance of glucose homeostasis. Investigation of the function of human a-cells remains a challenge due to the lack of cost-effective purification methods to isolate high-quality a-cells from islets. Here, we use the reaction-based probe diacetylated Zinpyr1 (DA-ZP1) to introduce a novel and simple method for enriching live a-cells from dissociated human islet cells with ~ 95% purity. The a-cells, confirmed by sorting and immunostaining for glucagon, were cultured up to 10 days to form a-pseudoislets. The a-pseudoislets could be maintained in culture without significant loss of viability, and responded to glucose challenge by secreting appropriate levels of glucagon. RNA-sequencing analyses (RNA-seq) revealed that expression levels of key a-cell identity genes were sustained in culture while some of the genes such as DLK1, GSN, SMIM24 were altered in a-pseudoislets in a time-dependent manner. In conclusion, we report a method to sort human primary a-cells with high purity that can be used for downstream analyses such as functional and transcriptional studies.
Cell-generated forces play a major role in coordinating the large-scale behavior of cell assemblies, in particular during development, wound healing, and cancer. Mechanical signals propagate faster than biochemical signals, but can have similar effects, especially in epithelial tissues with strong cell–cell adhesion. However, a quantitative description of the transmission chain from force generation in a sender cell, force propagation across cell–cell boundaries, and the concomitant response of receiver cells is missing. For a quantitative analysis of this important situation, here we propose a minimal model system of two epithelial cells on an H-pattern (‘cell doublet’). After optogenetically activating RhoA, a major regulator of cell contractility, in the sender cell, we measure the mechanical response of the receiver cell by traction force and monolayer stress microscopies. In general, we find that the receiver cells show an active response so that the cell doublet forms a coherent unit. However, force propagation and response of the receiver cell also strongly depend on the mechano-structural polarization in the cell assembly, which is controlled by cell–matrix adhesion to the adhesive micropattern. We find that the response of the receiver cell is stronger when the mechano-structural polarization axis is oriented perpendicular to the direction of force propagation, reminiscent of the Poisson effect in passive materials. We finally show that the same effects are at work in small tissues. Our work demonstrates that cellular organization and active mechanical response of a tissue are key to maintain signal strength and lead to the emergence of elasticity, which means that signals are not dissipated like in a viscous system, but can propagate over large distances.