Wnt/PCP signaling: a veritable polar star in establishing patterns of polarity in embryonic tissues

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2006 Apr;17(2):185-93. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2006.04.002. Epub 2006 Apr 18.


Embryonic patterning has traditionally been viewed as the establishment of spatially significant gene expression in response to secreted signals. Recent work has highlighted the role of the Wnt/planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway in patterning tissues. Rather than establishing characteristic arrays of gene expression, however, this pathway functions to institute uniform polarity of cells within a tissue. Cells thus polarized can undergo directed migrations, cell divisions, etc., which are essential for normal morphogenesis. In this review, I will highlight the similarities between mechanisms that establish patterns of polarity between Drosophila and vertebrates. Further, I will discuss recent advances with regard to Wnt/PCP signaling in vertebrates.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning*
  • Cell Polarity
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Drosophila / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Vertebrates / embryology
  • Vertebrates / metabolism
  • Wnt Proteins / physiology*


  • Wnt Proteins