Lgr5 was originally discovered as a common Wnt target gene in adult intestinal crypts and colon cancer. It was subsequently identified as an exquisite marker of multiple Wnt-driven adult stem cell types. Lgr5 and its homologs, Lgr4 and Lgr6, constitute the receptors for R-spondins, potent Wnt signal enhancers and stem cell growth factors. The Lgr5/R-spondin complex acts by neutralizing Rnf43 and Znrf3, two transmembrane E3 ligases that remove Wnt receptors from the stem cell surface. Rnf43/Znrf3 are themselves encoded by Wnt target genes and constitute a negative Wnt feedback loop. Thus, adult stem cells are controlled by an intricate interplay of potent Wnt agonists, antagonists, and anti-antagonists. © 2014 de Lau et al.
- Wnt signal regulation