WNTs in the vertebrate nervous system: from patterning to neuronal connectivity

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2005 May;6(5):351-62. doi: 10.1038/nrn1665.


WNT signalling has a key role in early embryonic patterning through the regulation of cell fate decisions, tissue polarity and cell movements. In the nervous system, WNT signalling also regulates neuronal connectivity by controlling axon pathfinding, axon remodelling, dendrite morphogenesis and synapse formation. Studies, from invertebrates to mammals, have led to a considerable understanding of WNT signal transduction pathways. This knowledge provides a framework for the study of the mechanisms by which WNTs regulate diverse neuronal functions. Manipulation of the WNT pathways could provide new strategies for nerve regeneration and neuronal circuit modulation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / cytology
  • Nerve Net / embryology
  • Nerve Net / metabolism*
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Vertebrates / metabolism
  • Vertebrates / physiology*
  • Wnt Proteins


  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Wnt Proteins