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Title: Structural studies of Norrin dependent Wnt/beta-catenin signaling
Author: Chang, Tao-Hsin
ISNI:       0000 0004 5353 2414
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Norrin is a secreted cystine-knot growth factor that plays critical roles in vascular development in the brain, retina, and cochlea, as well as the uterus. Although Norrin is unrelated to the lipid-modified morphogens Wnts, Norrin activates the canonical Wnt/β-catenin pathway by binding to receptor Frizzled4 cysteine-rich domain (Fz4-CRD) and co-receptors of low density lipoprotein receptor related protein 5/6 ectodomain (Lrp5/6-ECD) in conjunction with Tetraspanin-12 (Tspan-12). Like Wnts, Norrin has limited extracellular diffusion properties as a result of associating with heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs). Mutations lead to inherited disordered retinal vascularization diseases such as Norrie disease, familial exudative vitreoretinopathy and coats' disease. However, the molecular mechanism of how Norrin initiates signalling by engagement with Fz4, Lrp5/6, and HSPGs has remained unresolved. Here, novel strategies for protein production of recombinant human Norrin and Fz4-CRD as well as the complex are developed. The crystal structures of Norrin and its complex with Fz4-CRD, plus complex bound with the heparin mimic sucrose octasulphate, and unliganded structures of Fz4-CRD are presented. These structural data together with biophysical and cellular assays not only reveal the Fz4 and Lrp5/6 binding sites on distinct patches of the Norrin surface, but also indicate the HSPGs binding site on Norrin and Fz4-CRD as well as providing a framework to explain numerous disease-related mutations. Structural comparison with Xenopus Wnt8 in complex with mouse Fz8-CRD provides molecular insights for our understanding of ligand-receptor binding specificity and promiscuity, which has important implications for developing therapeutic strategies against Norrin dependent retinal disorders, and cancers caused by abnormal Wnt signaling.
Supervisor: Jones, E. Yvonne Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Life Sciences ; Biochemistry ; Glycobiology ; Molecular biophysics (biochemistry) ; Medical Sciences ; Ophthamology ; Tumours ; Vascular research ; Physical Sciences ; Biophysics ; Crystallography ; Membrane proteins ; Crystal structure ; Wnt signalling ; proteoglycan binding ; retinal genetic disease ; Norrie disease ; Familial exudative vitreoretinopathy ; cystine-knot growth factor ; blood brain barrier ; vascularization ; angiogenesis