mouse model, intestinal stem cell, regeneration, Rho GTPase, RhoA, Hippo signaling, YAP, Wnt signaling


Genetics and Genomics


RHOA, a founding member of the Rho GTPase family, is critical for actomyosin dynamics, polarity, and morphogenesis in response to developmental cues, mechanical stress, and inflammation. In murine small intestinal epithelium, inducible RHOA deletion causes a loss of epithelial polarity, with disrupted villi and crypt organization. In the intestinal crypts, RHOA deficiency results in reduced cell proliferation, increased apoptosis, and a loss of intestinal stem cells (ISCs) that mimic effects of radiation damage. Mechanistically, RHOA loss reduces YAP signaling of the Hippo pathway and affects YAP effector epiregulin (EREG) expression in the crypts. Expression of an active YAP (S112A) mutant rescues ISC marker expression, ISC regeneration, and ISC-associated Wnt signaling, but not defective epithelial polarity, in RhoA knockout mice, implicating YAP in RHOA-regulated ISC function. EREG treatment or active β-catenin Catnblox(ex3) mutant expression rescues the RhoA KO ISC phenotypes. Thus, RHOA controls YAP-EREG signaling to regulate intestinal homeostasis and ISC regeneration.

Original Citation

Liu, M., Zhang, Z., Sampson, L., Zhou, X., Nalapareddy, K., Feng, Y., Akunuru, S., Melendez, J., Davis, A. K., Bi, F., Geiger, H., Xin, M., & Zheng, Y. (2017). RHOA GTPase Controls YAP-Mediated EREG Signaling in Small Intestinal Stem Cell Maintenance. Stem Cell Reports, 9(6), 1961–1975.