A caveolin binding motif in Na/K-ATPase is required for stem cell differentiation and organogenesis in mammals and C. elegans

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Science Advances  27 May 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 22, eaaw5851
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw5851


Several signaling events have been recognized as essential for regulating cell lineage specification and organogenesis in animals. We find that the gain of an amino-terminal caveolin binding motif (CBM) in the α subunit of the Na/K–adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) (NKA) is required for the early stages of organogenesis in both mice and Caenorhabditis elegans. The evolutionary gain of the CBM occurred at the same time as the acquisition of the binding sites for Na+/K+. Loss of this CBM does not affect cell lineage specification or the initiation of organogenesis, but arrests further organ development. Mechanistically, this CBM is essential for the dynamic operation of Wnt and the timely up-regulation of transcriptional factors during organogenesis. These results indicate that the NKA was evolved as a dual functional protein that works in concert with Wnt as a hitherto unrecognized common mechanism to enable stem cell differentiation and organogenesis in multicellular organisms within the animal kingdom.

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