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Usp16 modulates Wnt signaling in primary tissues through Cdkn2a regulation

By Maddalena Adorno, Benedetta Nicolis di Robilant, Shaheen Sikandar, Veronica Haro Acosta, Jane Antony, Craig Heller, Michael F Clarke

Posted 08 Jun 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/326272 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-34562-w)

Regulation of the Wnt pathway in stem cells and primary tissues is still poorly understood.Here we report that Usp16, a negative regulator of Bmi1/PRC1 function, modulates the Wnt pathway in mammary epithelia, primary human fibroblasts and MEFs, affecting their expansion and self- renewal potential. In mammary glands, reduced levels of Usp16 increase tissue responsiveness to Wnt, resulting in upregulation of the downstream Wnt target Axin2, expansion of the basal compartment and increased in vitro and in vivo epithelial regeneration. Usp16 regulation of the Wnt pathway in mouse and human tissues is at least in part mediated by activation of Cdkn2a, a regulator of senescence. At the molecular level, Usp16 affects Rspo-mediated phosphorylation of LRP6. In Down Syndrome, triplication of Usp16 dampens the activation of the Wnt pathway. Usp16 copy number normalization restores normal Wnt activation in Ts65Dn mice models. Genetic upregulation of the Wnt pathway in Ts65Dn mice rescues the proliferation defect observed in mammary epithelial cells. All together, these findings link important stem cell regulators like Bmi1/Usp16 and Cdkn2a to Wnt signaling, and have implications for designing therapies for conditions, like Down Syndrome, aging or degenerative diseases, where the Wnt pathway is hampered.

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