Next-Generation Surrogate Wnts Support Organoid Growth and Deconvolute Frizzled Pleiotropy In Vivo

Yi Miao, Andrew Ha, Wim de Lau, Kanako Yuki, António J M Santos, Changjiang You, Maarten H Geurts, Jens Puschhof, Cayetano Pleguezuelos-Manzano, Weng Chuan Peng, Ramazan Senlice, Carol Piani, Jan W Buikema, Oghenekevwe M Gbenedio, Mario Vallon, Jenny Yuan, Sanne de Haan, Wieger Hemrika, Kathrin Rösch, Luke T Dang, David Baker, Melanie Ott, Philippe Depeille, Sean M Wu, Jarno Drost, Roeland Nusse, Jeroen P Roose, Jacob Piehler, Sylvia F Boj, Claudia Y Janda, Hans Clevers, Calvin J Kuo, K Christopher Garcia

Published: 19/08/2020


Modulation of Wnt signaling has untapped potential in regenerative medicine due to its essential functions in stem cell homeostasis. However, Wnt lipidation and Wnt-Frizzled (Fzd) cross-reactivity have hindered translational Wnt applications. Here, we designed and engineered water-soluble, Fzd subtype-specific “next-generation surrogate” (NGS) Wnts that hetero-dimerize Fzd and Lrp6. NGS Wnt supports long-term expansion of multiple different types of organoids, including kidney, colon, hepatocyte, ovarian, and breast. NGS Wnts are superior to Wnt3a conditioned media in organoid expansion and single-cell organoid outgrowth. Administration of Fzd subtype-specific NGS Wnt in vivo reveals that adult intestinal crypt proliferation can be promoted by agonism of Fzd5 and/or Fzd8 receptors, while a broad spectrum of Fzd receptors can induce liver zonation. Thus, NGS Wnts offer a unified organoid expansion protocol and a laboratory “tool kit” for dissecting the functions of Fzd subtypes in stem cell biology.

Full Access Link: Cell Stem Cell