Wnt signaling in normal and malignant hematopoiesis

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2013 Feb 1;5(2):a008011. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a008011.


One of the most remarkable characteristics of stem cells is their ability to perpetuate themselves through self-renewal while concomitantly generating differentiated cells. In the hematopoietic system, stem cells balance these mechanisms to maintain steady-state hematopoiesis for the lifetime of the organism, and to effectively regenerate the system following injury. Defects in the proper control of self-renewal and differentiation can be potentially devastating and contribute to the development of malignancies. In this review, we trace the emerging role of Wnt signaling as a critical regulator of distinct aspects of self-renewal and differentiation, its contribution to the maintenance of homeostasis and regeneration, and how the pathway can be hijacked to promote leukemia development. A better understanding of these processes could pave the way to enhancing recovery after injury and to developing better therapeutic approaches for hematologic malignancies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Hematopoiesis*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / metabolism*
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Wnt Proteins / genetics
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism*
  • Wnt Proteins / physiology
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway*
  • Xenopus


  • Wnt Proteins