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Genes & development

Structure and function of Norrin in assembly and activation of a Frizzled 4-Lrp5/6 complex.


PMID 24186977

Abstract

Norrin is a cysteine-rich growth factor that is required for angiogenesis in the eye, ear, brain, and female reproductive organs. It functions as an atypical Wnt ligand by specifically binding to the Frizzled 4 (Fz4) receptor. Here we report the crystal structure of Norrin, which reveals a unique dimeric structure with each monomer adopting a conserved cystine knot fold. Functional studies demonstrate that the novel Norrin dimer interface is required for Fz4 activation. Furthermore, we demonstrate that Norrin contains separate binding sites for Fz4 and for the Wnt ligand coreceptor Lrp5 (low-density lipoprotein-related protein 5) or Lrp6. Instead of inducing Fz4 dimerization, Norrin induces the formation of a ternary complex with Fz4 and Lrp5/6 by binding to their respective extracellular domains. These results provide crucial insights into the assembly and activation of the Norrin-Fz4-Lrp5/6 signaling complex.