Wnt Signaling in 3D: Recent Advances in the Applications of Intestinal Organoids

Trends Cell Biol. 2020 Jan;30(1):60-73. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2019.10.003. Epub 2019 Nov 9.


Intestinal organoids grown from adult stem cells have emerged as prototype 3D organotypic models for studying tissue renewal and homeostasis. Owing to their strict dependence on Wnt signaling, intestinal organoids offer an unprecedented opportunity to examine Wnt pathway regulation in normal physiology and cancer. We review how alterations in growth factor dependency and organoid morphology can be exploited to identify Wnt signaling mechanisms, characterize mutated pathway components, and predict responses of patient-derived tumors to targeted therapy. We discuss current deficits in the understanding of genotype-phenotype relationships that are to be considered when interpreting mutation-induced changes in organoid morphology.

Keywords: Wnt pathway; applications; intestinal organoids; mutations; organoid morphology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Intestines / physiology*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Organoids / metabolism*
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway*