Wnt signaling in neural circuit assembly

Annu Rev Neurosci. 2008;31:339-58. doi: 10.1146/annurev.neuro.31.060407.125649.


The Wnt family of secreted proteins plays a crucial role in nervous system wiring. Wnts regulate neuronal positioning, polarization, axon and dendrite development, and synaptogenesis. These diverse roles of Wnt proteins are due not only to the large numbers of Wnt ligands and receptors but also to their ability to signal through distinct signaling pathways in different cell types and developmental contexts. Studies on Wnts have shed new light on novel molecular mechanisms that control the development of complex neuronal connections. This review discusses recent advances on how Wnt signaling influences different aspects of neuronal circuit assembly through changes in gene expression and/or cytoskeletal modulation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Central Nervous System / cytology
  • Central Nervous System / embryology*
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Cytoskeleton / genetics
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics
  • Humans
  • Nerve Net / cytology
  • Nerve Net / embryology*
  • Nerve Net / metabolism*
  • Neural Pathways / cytology
  • Neural Pathways / embryology
  • Neural Pathways / metabolism
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*
  • Wnt Proteins / genetics
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism*


  • Wnt Proteins