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Dev Cell. 2006 Jun;10(6):759-70.

Apc tumor suppressor gene is the "zonation-keeper" of mouse liver.

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Institut Cochin, D├ępartement GDPM, INSERM U567, CNRS, UMR-S 8104, Paris, F-75014, France.


The molecular mechanisms by which liver genes are differentially expressed along a portocentral axis, allowing for metabolic zonation, are poorly understood. We provide here compelling evidence that the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway plays a key role in liver zonation. First, we show the complementary localization of activated beta-catenin in the perivenous area and the negative regulator Apc in periportal hepatocytes. We then analyzed the immediate consequences of either a liver-inducible Apc disruption or a blockade of Wnt signaling after infection with an adenovirus encoding Dkk1, and we show that Wnt/beta-catenin signaling inversely controls the perivenous and periportal genetic programs. Finally, we show that genes involved in the periportal urea cycle and the perivenous glutamine synthesis systems are critical targets of beta-catenin signaling, and that perturbations to ammonia metabolism are likely responsible for the death of mice with liver-targeted Apc loss. From our results, we propose that Apc is the liver "zonation-keeper" gene.

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