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