Ca(2+)-mediated mitochondrial ROS metabolism augments Wnt/β-catenin pathway activation to facilitate cell differentiation


  • T. Rharass
  • H. Lemcke
  • M. Lantow
  • S.A. Kuznetsov
  • D.G. Weiss
  • D. Panáková


  • Journal of Biological Chemistry


  • J Biol Chem 289 (40): 27937-27951


  • Emerging evidence suggests that reactive oxygen species (ROS) can stimulate Wnt/{beta}-catenin pathway in a number of cellular processes. However, potential sources of endogenous ROS have not been thoroughly explored. Here, we show that growth factor depletion in human neural progenitor cells induces ROS production in mitochondria. Elevated ROS levels augment activation of Wnt/{beta}-catenin signaling that regulates neural differentiation. We find that growth factor depletion stimulates release of Ca(2+) from the endoplasmic reticulum stores that subsequently accumulates in the mitochondria and triggers ROS production. The inhibition of mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake with simultaneous growth factor depletion prevents the rise in ROS metabolism. Moreover, low ROS levels block the dissociation of the Wnt effector Dishevelled from Nucleoredoxin. Attenuation of the response amplitudes of pathway effectors delays the onset of Wnt/{beta}-catenin pathway activation and results in markedly impaired neuronal differentiation. Our findings reveal Ca(2+)-mediated ROS metabolic cues that finetune the efficiency of cell differentiation by modulating the extent of the Wnt/{beta}-catenin signaling output.