A local Wnt-3a signal is required for development of the mammalian hippocampus

Development. 2000 Feb;127(3):457-67. doi: 10.1242/dev.127.3.457.


The mechanisms that regulate patterning and growth of the developing cerebral cortex remain unclear. Suggesting a role for Wnt signaling in these processes, multiple Wnt genes are expressed in selective patterns in the embryonic cortex. We have examined the role of Wnt-3a signaling at the caudomedial margin of the developing cerebral cortex, the site of hippocampal development. We show that Wnt-3a acts locally to regulate the expansion of the caudomedial cortex, from which the hippocampus develops. In mice lacking Wnt-3a, caudomedial cortical progenitor cells appear to be specified normally, but then underproliferate. By mid-gestation, the hippocampus is missing or represented by tiny populations of residual hippocampal cells. Thus, Wnt-3a signaling is crucial for the normal growth of the hippocampus. We suggest that the coordination of growth with patterning may be a general role for Wnts during vertebrate development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / embryology
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Gestational Age
  • Hippocampus / embryology*
  • Mammals
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Proteins / genetics*
  • Proteins / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / physiology
  • Telencephalon / embryology
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Wnt3 Protein
  • Wnt3A Protein


  • Proteins
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Wnt3 Protein
  • Wnt3A Protein
  • Wnt3a protein, mouse
  • Wnt8b protein, mouse