Wnt signaling regulates hepatic metabolism

Hongjun Liu, Maria M. Fergusson, J. Julie Wu, Ilsa I. Rovira, Jie Liu, Oksana Gavrilova, Teng Lu, Jianjun Bao, Donghe Han, Michael N. Sack, Toren Finkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The contribution of the Wnt pathway has been extensively characterized in embryogenesis, differentiation, and stem cell biology but not in mammalian metabolism. Here, using in vivo gain- and loss-of-function models, we demonstrate an important role for Wnt signaling in hepatic metabolism. In particular, β-catenin, the downstream mediator of canonical Wnt signaling, altered serum glucose concentrations and regulated hepatic glucose production. β-Catenin also modulated hepatic insulin signaling. Furthermore, β-catenin interacted with the transcription factor FoxO1 in livers from mice under starved conditions. The interaction of FoxO1 with β-catenin regulated the transcriptional activation of the genes encoding glucose-6-phosphatase (G6Pase) and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK), the two rate-limiting enzymes in hepatic gluconeogenesis. Moreover, starvation induced the hepatic expression of mRNAs encoding different Wnt isoforms. In addition, nutrient deprivation appeared to favor the association of β-catenin with FoxO family members, rather than with members of the T cell factor of transcriptional activators. Notably, in a model of diet-induced obesity, hepatic deletion of β-catenin improved overall metabolic homeostasis. These observations implicate Wnt signaling in the modulation of hepatic metabolism and raise the possibility that Wnt signaling may play a similar role in the metabolic regulation of other tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberra6
JournalScience Signaling
Volume4
Issue number158
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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