Inducible progenitor-derived Wingless regulates adult midgut regeneration in Drosophila

EMBO J. 2012 Oct 3;31(19):3901-17. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2012.248. Epub 2012 Sep 4.


The ability to regenerate following stress is a hallmark of self-renewing tissues. However, little is known about how regeneration differs from homeostatic tissue maintenance. Here, we study the role and regulation of Wingless (Wg)/Wnt signalling during intestinal regeneration using the Drosophila adult midgut. We show that Wg is produced by the intestinal epithelial compartment upon damage or stress and it is exclusively required for intestinal stem cell (ISC) proliferation during tissue regeneration. Reducing Wg or downstream signalling components from the intestinal epithelium blocked tissue regeneration. Importantly, we demonstrate that Wg from the undifferentiated progenitor cell, the enteroblast, is required for Myc-dependent ISC proliferation during regeneration. Similar to young regenerating tissues, ageing intestines required Wg and Myc for ISC hyperproliferation. Unexpectedly, our results demonstrate that epithelial but not mesenchymal Wg is essential for ISC proliferation in response to damage, while neither source of the ligand is solely responsible for ISC maintenance and tissue self-renewal in unchallenged tissues. Therefore, fine-tuning Wnt results in optimal balance between the ability to respond to stress without negatively affecting organismal viability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Female
  • Intestines / physiology*
  • Regeneration / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Wnt1 Protein / physiology*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Wnt1 Protein
  • wg protein, Drosophila