Lijun Chen

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, United States

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Publications (3)19.11 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Macrophages are required for tissue homeostasis through their role in regulation of the immune response and the resolution of injury. Here we show, using the kidney as a model, that the Wnt pathway ligand Wnt7b is produced by macrophages to stimulate repair and regeneration. When macrophages are inducibly ablated from the injured kidney, the canonical Wnt pathway response in kidney epithelial cells is reduced. Furthermore, when Wnt7b is somatically deleted in macrophages, repair of injury is greatly diminished. Finally, injection of the Wnt pathway regulator Dkk2 enhances the repair process and suggests a therapeutic option. Because Wnt7b is known to stimulate epithelial responses during kidney development, these findings suggest that macrophages are able to rapidly invade an injured tissue and reestablish a developmental program that is beneficial for repair and regeneration.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2010; 107(9):4194-9. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dickkopf (Dkk) proteins are antagonists of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway and are crucial for embryonic cell fate and bone formation. Wnt antagonism of Dkk requires the binding of the C-terminal cysteine-rich domain of Dkk to the Wnt coreceptor, LRP5/6. However, the structural basis of the interaction between Dkk and low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein (LRP) 5/6 is unknown. In this study, we examined the structure of the Dkk functional domain and elucidated its interactions with LRP5/6. Using NMR spectroscopy, we determined the solution structure of the C-terminal cysteine-rich domain of mouse Dkk2 (Dkk2C). Then, guided by mutagenesis studies, we docked Dkk2C to the YWTD beta-propeller domains of LRP5/6 and showed that the ligand binding site of the third LRP5/6 beta-propeller domain matches Dkk2C best, suggesting that this domain binds to Dkk2C with higher affinity. Such differential binding affinity is likely to play an essential role in Dkk function in the canonical Wnt pathway.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2008; 283(34):23364-70. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Wnt signaling is involved in a wide range of developmental, physiological, and pathophysiological processes and is negatively regulated by Dickkopf1 (Dkk1). Dkk1 has been shown to bind to two transmembrane proteins, the low density lipoprotein receptor-related proteins (LRP) 5/6 and Kremen. Here, we show that Dkk1 residues Arg(197), Ser(198), and Lys(232) are specifically involved in its binding to Kremen rather than to LRP6. These residues are localized at a surface that is at the opposite side of the LRP6-binding surface based on a three-dimensional structure of Dkk1 deduced from that of Dkk2. We were surprised to find that the Dkk1 mutants carrying a mutation at Arg(197), Ser(198), or Lys(232), the key Kremen-binding residues, could antagonize Wnt signaling as well as the wild-type Dkk1. These mutations only affected their ability to antagonize Wnt signaling when both LRP6 and Kremen were coexpressed. These results suggest that Kremen may not be essential for Dkk1-mediated Wnt antagonism and that Kremen may only play a role when cells express a high level of LRP5/6.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2008; 283(34):23371-5. · 4.65 Impact Factor