Cassandra R Zylstra-Diegel

Van Andel Research Institute, Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States

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Publications (6)24.63 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Recent genome-wide association studies of individuals of Asian and European descent have found that SNPs located within the genomic region (1p31.3) encoding the Wntless (Wls)/Gpr177 protein are associated significantly with reduced bone mineral density. Wls/Gpr177 is a newly identified chaperone protein that specifically escorts Wnt ligands for secretion. Given the strong functional association between the Wnt signaling pathways and bone development and homeostasis, we generated osteoblast-specific Wls-deficient (Ocn-Cre;Wls-flox) mice. Homozygous conditional knockout animals were born at a normal Mendelian frequency. Whole-body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scanning revealed that bone-mass accrual was significantly inhibited in homozygotes as early as 20 d of age. These homozygotes had spontaneous fractures and a high frequency of premature lethality at around 2 mo of age. Microcomputed tomography analysis and histomorphometric data revealed a dramatic reduction of both trabecular and cortical bone mass in homozygous mutants. Bone formation in homozygotes was severely impaired, but no obvious phenotypic change was observed in mice heterozygous for the conditional deletion. In vitro studies showed that Wls-deficient osteoblasts had a defect in differentiation and mineralization, with significant reductions in the expression of key osteoblast differentiation regulators. In summary, these results reveal a surprising and crucial role of osteoblast-secreted Wnt ligands in bone-mass accrual.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2012; 109(33):E2197-204. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Malignant glioblastomas are characterized by their ability to infiltrate into normal brain. We previously reported that binding of the multifunctional cytokine TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) to its receptor fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14 (Fn14) induces glioblastoma cell invasion via Rac1 activation. Here, we show that Cdc42 plays an essential role in Fn14-mediated activation of Rac1. TWEAK-treated glioma cells display an increased activation of Cdc42, and depletion of Cdc42 using siRNA abolishes TWEAK-induced Rac1 activation and abrogates glioma cell migration and invasion. In contrast, Rac1 depletion does not affect Cdc42 activation by Fn14, showing that Cdc42 mediates TWEAK-stimulated Rac1 activation. Furthermore, we identified two guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEF), Ect2 and Trio, involved in TWEAK-induced activation of Cdc42 and Rac1, respectively. Depletion of Ect2 abrogates both TWEAK-induced Cdc42 and Rac1 activation, as well as subsequent TWEAK-Fn14-directed glioma cell migration and invasion. In contrast, Trio depletion inhibits TWEAK-induced Rac1 activation but not TWEAK-induced Cdc42 activation. Finally, inappropriate expression of Fn14 or Ect2 in mouse astrocytes in vivo using an RCAS vector system for glial-specific gene transfer in G-tva transgenic mice induces astrocyte migration within the brain, corroborating the in vitro importance of the TWEAK-Fn14 signaling cascade in glioblastoma invasion. Our results suggest that the TWEAK-Fn14 signaling axis stimulates glioma cell migration and invasion through two GEF-GTPase signaling units, Ect2-Cdc42 and Trio-Rac1. Components of the Fn14-Rho GEF-Rho GTPase signaling pathway present innovative drug targets for glioma therapy.
    Molecular Cancer Research 05/2012; 10(7):958-68. · 4.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The glucagon receptor (GCGR) is a member of the class B G protein-coupled receptor family. Activation of GCGR by glucagon leads to increased glucose production by the liver. Thus, glucagon is a key component of glucose homeostasis by counteracting the effect of insulin. In this report, we found that in addition to activation of the classic cAMP/protein kinase A (PKA) pathway, activation of GCGR also induced β-catenin stabilization and activated β-catenin-mediated transcription. Activation of β-catenin signaling was PKA-dependent, consistent with previous reports on the parathyroid hormone receptor type 1 (PTH1R) and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1R) receptors. Since low-density-lipoprotein receptor-related protein 5 (Lrp5) is an essential co-receptor required for Wnt protein mediated β-catenin signaling, we examined the role of Lrp5 in glucagon-induced β-catenin signaling. Cotransfection with Lrp5 enhanced the glucagon-induced β-catenin stabilization and TCF promoter-mediated transcription. Inhibiting Lrp5/6 function using Dickkopf-1(DKK1) or by expression of the Lrp5 extracellular domain blocked glucagon-induced β-catenin signaling. Furthermore, we showed that Lrp5 physically interacted with GCGR by immunoprecipitation and bioluminescence resonance energy transfer assays. Together, these results reveal an unexpected crosstalk between glucagon and β-catenin signaling, and may help to explain the metabolic phenotypes of Lrp5/6 mutations.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(3):e33676. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The role of Wnt signaling in osteoblastogenesis in the embryo remains to be fully established. Although β-catenin, a multifunctional protein also mediating canonical Wnt signaling, is indispensable for embryonic osteoblast differentiation, the roles of the key Wnt co-receptors Lrp5 and Lrp6 are unclear. Indeed, global deletion of either Lrp5 or Lrp6 did not overtly affect osteoblast differentiation in the mouse embryo. Here, we generated mice lacking both receptors specifically in the embryonic mesenchyme and observed an absence of osteoblasts in the embryo. In addition, the double-deficient embryos developed supernumerary cartilage elements in the zeugopod, revealing an important role for mesenchymal Lrp5/6 signaling in limb patterning. Importantly, the phenotypes of the Lrp5/6 mutant closely resembled those of the β-catenin-deficient embryos. These phenotypes are likely independent of any effect on the adherens junction, as deletion of α-catenin, another component of the complex, did not cause similar defects. Thus, Lrp5 and 6 redundantly control embryonic skeletal development, likely through β-catenin signaling.
    Developmental Biology 09/2011; 359(2):222-9. · 3.87 Impact Factor
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    Zhendong Zhong, Jacob J Baker, Cassandra R Zylstra-Diegel, Bart O Williams
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    ABSTRACT: Low-density lipoprotein receptor-related proteins 5 and 6 (Lrp5 and Lrp6) are co-receptors of Wnt ligands and play important roles in Wnt/β-catenin signal transduction. Mice homozygous for a germline deletion of Lrp6 die at birth with several associated defects, while Lrp5-deficient mice are viable. Here, we conditionally deleted Lrp5 and/or Lrp6 in the mouse gut ((gut-/-)) by crossing mice carrying floxed alleles of Lrp5 and Lrp6 to a strain expressing Cre recombinase from the villin promoter (villin-Cre). The changes in morphology, differentiation, and Wnt signal transduction were validated using immunohistochemistry and other staining. Consistent with observations in mice carrying a homozygous germline deletion in Lrp5, intestinal development in Lrp5(gut-/-) mice was normal. In addition, mice homozygous for villin-Cre-induced deletion of Lrp6 (Lrp6(gut-/-)) were viable with apparently normal intestinal differentiation and function. However, mice homozygous for villin-Cre inactivated alleles of both genes (Lrp5(gut-/-) ; Lrp6(gut-/-)) died within 1 day of birth. Analysis of embryonic Lrp5(gut-/-); Lrp6(gut-/-) intestinal epithelium showed a progressive loss of cells, an absence of proliferation, and a premature differentiation of crypt stem/precursor cells; no notable change in differentiation was observed in the embryos lacking either gene alone. Further immunohistochemical studies showed that expression of the Wnt/β-catenin target, cyclin D1, was specifically reduced in the intestinal epithelium of Lrp5(gut-/-); Lrp6(gut-/-) embryos. Our data demonstrate that Lrp5 and Lrp6 play redundant roles in intestinal epithelium development, and that Lrp5/6 might regulate intestinal stem/precursor cell maintenance by regulating Wnt/β-catenin signaling.
    Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 08/2011; 113(1):31-8. · 3.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The ability of Wnt ligands to initiate a signaling cascade that results in cytoplasmic stabilization of, and nuclear localization of, β-catenin underlies their ability to regulate progenitor cell differentiation. In this review, we will summarize the current knowledge of the mechanisms underlying Wnt/β-catenin signaling and how the pathway regulates normal differentiation of stem cells in the intestine, mammary gland, and prostate. We will also discuss how dysregulation of the pathway is associated with putative cancer stem cells and the potential therapeutic implications of regulating Wnt signaling.
    Cancers. 01/2011; 3(2):2050-79.