The Wnt Signaling Pathway in Development and Disease

Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2004;20:781-810. doi: 10.1146/annurev.cellbio.20.010403.113126.

Abstract

Tight control of cell-cell communication is essential for the generation of a normally patterned embryo. A critical mediator of key cell-cell signaling events during embryogenesis is the highly conserved Wnt family of secreted proteins. Recent biochemical and genetic analyses have greatly enriched our understanding of how Wnts signal, and the list of canonical Wnt signaling components has exploded. The data reveal that multiple extracellular, cytoplasmic, and nuclear regulators intricately modulate Wnt signaling levels. In addition, receptor-ligand specificity and feedback loops help to determine Wnt signaling outputs. Wnts are required for adult tissue maintenance, and perturbations in Wnt signaling promote both human degenerative diseases and cancer. The next few years are likely to see novel therapeutic reagents aimed at controlling Wnt signaling in order to alleviate these conditions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / physiology
  • Cytoplasm / physiology
  • Disease / etiology*
  • Embryonic Development*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Glycoproteins / physiology
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / physiology*
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Protein Transport
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Wnt Proteins

Substances

  • Glycoproteins
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Wnt Proteins