Subtle Deregulation of the Wnt-Signaling Pathway Through Loss of Apc2 Reduces the Fitness of Intestinal Stem Cells

Stem Cells. 2018 Jan;36(1):114-122. doi: 10.1002/stem.2712. Epub 2017 Oct 13.


The importance of the Wnt-signaling pathway on the regulation and maintenance of the intestinal stem cell (ISC) population is well recognized. However, our current knowledge base is founded on models using systems of gross deregulation of the Wnt-signaling pathway. Given the importance of this signaling pathway on intestinal homeostasis, there is a need to explore the role of more subtle alterations in Wnt-signaling levels within this tissue. Herein, we have used a model of Apc2 loss to meet this aim. Apc2 is a homolog of Apc which can also form a destruction complex capable of binding β-catenin, albeit less efficiently than Apc. We show that systemic loss of Apc2 results in an increase in the number of cells displaying nuclear β-catenin at the base of the intestinal crypt. This subsequently impacts the expression levels of several ISC markers and the fitness of ISCs as assessed by organoid formation efficiency. This work provides the first evidence that the function and fitness of ISCs can be altered by even minor misregulation of the Wnt-signaling pathway. Our data highlights the importance of correct maintenance of this crucial signaling pathway in the maintenance and function of the ISC population. Stem Cells 2018;36:114-122.

Keywords: Animal models; Cell signaling; Differentiation; Gene expression; Stem cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apc2 Subunit, Anaphase-Promoting Complex-Cyclosome / deficiency
  • Apc2 Subunit, Anaphase-Promoting Complex-Cyclosome / genetics
  • Apc2 Subunit, Anaphase-Promoting Complex-Cyclosome / metabolism*
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Intestine, Small / cytology
  • Intestine, Small / metabolism
  • Intestines / cytology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Models, Animal
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway*


  • Anapc2 protein, mouse
  • Apc2 Subunit, Anaphase-Promoting Complex-Cyclosome