Tissue-Dependent Consequences of Apc Inactivation on Proliferation and Differentiation of Ciliated Cell Progenitors via Wnt and Notch Signaling

Aimin Li, Belinda Chan, Juan C. Felix, Yiming Xing, Min Li, Steven L. Brody, Zea Borok, Changgong Li, Parviz Minoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The molecular signals that control decisions regarding progenitor/stem cell proliferation versus differentiation are not fully understood. Differentiation of motile cilia from progenitor/stem cells may offer a simple tractable model to investigate this process. Wnt and Notch represent two key signaling pathways in progenitor/stem cell behavior in a number of tissues. Adenomatous Polyposis Coli, Apc is a negative regulator of the Wnt pathway and a well known multifunctional protein. Using the cre-LoxP system we inactivated the Apc locus via Foxj1-cre, which is expressed in cells committed to ciliated cell lineage. We then characterized the consequent phenotype in two select tissues that bear motile cilia, the lung and the testis. In the lung, Apc deletion induced β-catenin accumulation and Jag1 expression in ciliated cells and by lateral induction, triggered Notch signaling in adjacent Clara cells. In the bronchiolar epithelium, absence of Apc blocked the differentiation of a subpopulation of cells committed to the ciliogenesis program. In the human pulmonary adenocarcinoma cells, Apc over-expression inhibited Jag1 expression and promoted motile ciliogenic gene expression program including Foxj1, revealing the potential mechanism. In the testis, Apc inactivation induced β-catenin accumulation in the spermatogonia, but silenced Notch signaling and depleted spermatogonial stem cells, associated with reduced proliferation, resulting in male infertility. In sum, the present comparative analysis reveals the tissue-dependent consequences of Apc inactivation on proliferation and differentiation of ciliated cell progenitors by coordinating Wnt and Notch signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere62215
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 30 2013


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