JNK functions in the non-canonical Wnt pathway to regulate convergent extension movements in vertebrates

EMBO Rep. 2002 Jan;3(1):69-75. doi: 10.1093/embo-reports/kvf008. Epub 2001 Dec 19.


Recent genetic studies in Drosophila identified a novel non-canonical Wnt pathway, the planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway, that signals via JNK to control epithelial cell polarity in Drosophila. Most recently, a pathway regulating convergent extension movements during gastrulation in vertebrate embryos has been shown to be a vertebrate equivalent of the PCP pathway. However, it is not known whether the JNK pathway functions in this non-canonical Wnt pathway to regulate convergent extension movements in vertebrates. In addition, it is not known whether JNK is in fact activated by Wnt stimulation. Here we show that Wnt5a is capable of activating JNK in cultured cells, and present evidence that the JNK pathway mediates the action of Wnt5a to regulate convergent extension movements in Xenopus. Our results thus demonstrate that the non-canonical Wnt/JNK pathway is conserved in both vertebrate and invertebrate and define that JNK has an activity to regulate morphogenetic cell movements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Drosophila
  • JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases*
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 4
  • Mice
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Proteins / physiology*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Wnt-5a Protein
  • Xenopus
  • Xenopus Proteins*


  • Proteins
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Wnt-5a Protein
  • Wnt5a protein, Xenopus
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 4
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases