Rik Korswagen

Hendrik (Rik) Korswagen studied Medical Biology at Utrecht University. He received his PhD (cum laude) from the University of Amsterdam in 1999, based on research performed in the group of Ronald Plasterk at the Netherlands Cancer Institute. For this work he received the 1997 Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Award. He continued his postdoctoral research in the group of Hans Clevers at the University Medical Center in Utrecht. In 2000 he became a junior and in 2005 a senior group leader at the Hubrecht Institute, studying the mechanism and regulation of Wnt signaling. In 2013 he was appointed as a professor in Molecular Developmental Genetics at the Institute of Biodynamics and Biocomplexity of Utrecht University.

Other activities:

  • Professor at Utrecht University
  • Treasurer at the International Society for Developmental Biology
  • Member of the supervisory board at the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht

Team members Korswagen

Morgan Hoftijzer


Morgan Hoftijzer

Sharon Christensen


Sharon Christensen

Lorenzo Rella

PhD Student

Rik Korswagen

Marco Betist

Lab Assistant

Luc Schoppink


Luc Schoppink

Annabel Ebbing

PhD Student

Matilde Galli

Senior Postdoc

Matilde Galli

Reinier van der Palen


Reinier van der Palen

Euclides Povoa

PhD Student

Shah Kishun


Shah Kishun

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Korswagen: Mechanism of Wnt signaling in development and disease

Wnt proteins are members of an evolutionarily conserved family of signaling proteins with important functions in development, adult tissue homeostasis and disease. At the cellular level, Wnt proteins can trigger a wide variety of response, ranging from cell fate specification and proliferation to cell polarization and migration. We are studying the signaling mechanisms that mediate these different effects of Wnt.

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Key publications

Mentink, R.A., Middelkoop, T.C., Rella, L., Ji, N., van Oudenaarden, A., and Korswagen, H.C. (2014) Cell intrinsic modulation of Wnt signaling controls neuroblast migration in C. elegans. Developmental Cell 31: 188-201.


Ji, N., Middelkoop, T.C., Mentink, R.A., Betist, M.C., Tonegawa, S., Mooijman, D., Korswagen, H.C.* and van Oudenaarden, A* (2013) Feedback control of gene expression variability in the Caenorhabditis elegans Wnt pathway. Cell 155: 869-880. *Joint senior/corresponding authors. See also: Cell video abstract


Harterink, M., Port, F., Lorenowicz, M., McGough, I., Silhankova, M., Betist, M., van Weering, J., van Heesbeen, R., Middelkoop, T., Basler, K., Cullen, P., Korswagen, H.C. (2011) A SNX3-dependent Retromer pathway mediates retrograde transport of the Wnt sorting receptor Wntless and is required for Wnt secretion. Nature Cell Biology 13:914-923. See also:News & Views Highlight in EMBO J


Yang, P.T., Lorenowicz, M., Silhankova, M., Coudreuse, D.Y.M., Betist, M.C., Korswagen, H.C. (2008) Wnt signaling requires retromer dependent recycling of MIG-14/Wls in Wnt producing cells. Developmental Cell 14: 140-147.


Coudreuse, D.Y.M., Roel, G., Betist, M.C., Destree, O., Korswagen, H.C. (2006) Wnt gradient formation requires retromer function in Wnt producing cells. Science 312: 921-924.


Essers, M.A., de Vries-Smits, L.M.M., Barker, N., Polderman, P.E., Burgering, B.M.T., Korswagen, H.C. (2005) Functional interaction between beta-catenin and FOXO in oxidative stress signaling. Science 308: 1181-1184.

All publications

The Caenorhabditis elegans Q neuroblasts
2016 in 22142

Lorenzo Rella, Euclides E Fernandes Póvoa, Hendrik C Korswagen

A Long Noncoding RNA on the Ribosome Is Required for Lifespan Extension
2015 in 21100201068

Paul B Essers, Julie Nonnekens, Yvonne J Goos, Marco C Betist, Marjon D Viester, Britt Mossink, Nico Lansu, Hendrik C Korswagen, Rob Jelier, Arjan B Brenkman, Alyson W MacInnes

Inhibition of late endosomal maturation restores Wnt secretion in Caenorhabditis elegans vps-29 retromer mutants
2014 in 18487

M.J. Lorenowicz, M. Macurkova, M. Harterink, T.C. Middelkoop, R. de Groot, M.C. Betist, H.C. Korswagen

Cell intrinsic modulation of Wnt signaling controls neuroblast migration in C. elegans
2014 in 18525

Remco A Mentink, Teije C Middelkoop, Lorenzo Rella, Ni Ji, Chung Yin Tang, Marco C Betist, Alexander van Oudenaarden, Hendrik C Korswagen

Development and migration of the C. elegans Q neuroblasts and their descendants
2014 in 10300153339

Teije C Middelkoop, Hendrik C Korswagen

Protein kinase CK2 is required for Wntless internalization and Wnt secretion
2014 in 18487

Reinoud E A de Groot, Sophia B Rappel, Magdalena J Lorenowicz, Hendrik C Korswagen

Huwe1-mediated ubiquitylation of dishevelled defines a negative feedback loop in the Wnt signaling pathway
2014 in 11300153721

Reinoud E A de Groot, Ranjani S Ganji, Ondrej Bernatik, Bethan Lloyd-Lewis, Katja Seipel, Kateřina Šedová, Zbyněk Zdráhal, Vishnu M Dhople, Trevor C Dale, Hendrik C Korswagen, Vitezslav Bryja

Distinct DNA binding sites contribute to the TCF transcriptional switch in C. elegans and Drosophila
2014 in 4000151808

Chandan Bhambhani, Aditi J Ravindranath, Remco A Mentink, Mikyung V Chang, Marco C Betist, Yaxuan X Yang, Sandhya P Koushika, Hendrik C Korswagen, Ken M Cadigan

RNA helicase DDX3 is a regulatory subunit of casein kinase 1 in Wnt-beta-catenin signaling
2013 in 23571

C.M. Cruciat, C. Dolde, R.E. de Groot, B. Ohkawara, C. Reinhard, H.C. Korswagen, C. Niehrs

Redox-dependent control of FOXO/DAF-16 by transportin-1
2013 in 18606

M. Putker, T. Madl, H.R. Vos, H. de Ruiter, M. Visscher, M.C. van den Berg, M. Kaplan, H.C. Korswagen, R. Boelens, M. Vermeulen, B.M. Burgering, T.B. Dansen

Rik Korswagen: Moleculair Bioloog
2013 in Trouw

P.H. Steenkamp, H.C. Korswagen

Insulin/IGF-1-mediated longevity is marked by reduced protein metabolism
2013 in 4700152228

G.J. Stout, E.C. Stigter, P.B. Essers, K.W. Mulder, A. Kolkman, D.S. Snijders, N.J. van den Broek, M.C. Betist, H.C. Korswagen, A.W. MacInnes, A.B. Brenkman

Feedback control of gene expression variability in the Caenorhabditis elegans Wnt pathway
2013 in 18434

N. Ji, T.C. Middelkoop, R.A. Mentink, M.C. Betist, S. Tonegawa, D. Mooijman, H.C. Korswagen, A. van Oudenaarden

Quantification of in vivo oxidative damage in Caenorhabditis elegans during aging by endogenous F3-isoprostane measurement
2013 in 18391

C.F. Labuschagne, E.C. Stigter, M.M. Hendriks, R. Berger, J. Rokach, H.C. Korswagen, A.B. Brenkman

Retromer dependent recycling of the Wnt secretion factor Wls is dispensable for stem cell maintenance in the mammalian intestinal epithelium
2013 in 10600153309

R.E. de Groot, H.F. Farin, M. Macurkova, J.H. van Es, H.C. Clevers, H.C. Korswagen

Deconvolving the roles of Wnt ligands and receptors in sensing and amplification
2013 in 4700152228

R.Z. Tan, N. Ji, R.A. Mentink, H.C. Korswagen, A. van Oudenaarden

Dissecting the Wnt secretion pathway: key questions on the modification and intracellular trafficking of Wnt proteins
2012 in 4000148904

M. Harterink, H.C. Korswagen

UNC-4 antagonizes Wnt signaling to regulate synaptic choice in the C. elegans motor circuit
2012 in 14090

J. Schneider, R.L. Skelton, S.E. Von Stetina, T.C. Middelkoop, A. van Oudenaarden, H.C. Korswagen, D.M. Miller

The thrombospondin repeat containing protein MIG-21 controls a left-right asymmetric Wnt signaling response in migrating C. elegans neuroblasts
2012 in 14536

T.C. Middelkoop, L. Williams, P.T. Yang, J. Luchtenberg, M.C. Betist, N. Ji, A. van Oudenaarden, C. Kenyon, H.C. Korswagen

Sorting nexins provide diversity for retromer-dependent trafficking events
2012 in 19014

P.J. Cullen, H.C. Korswagen