Crossroads of Wnt and Hippo in Epithelial Tissues

Trends Cell Biol. 2013 Aug;23(8):380-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2013.03.007. Epub 2013 Apr 20.


Epithelial tissues undergo constant growth and differentiation during embryonic development and to replace damaged tissue in adult organs. These processes are governed by different signaling pathways that ultimately control the expression of genes associated with cell proliferation, patterning, and death. One essential pathway is Wnt, which controls tubulogenesis in several epithelial organs. Recently, Wnt has been closely linked to other signaling pathways, such as Hippo, that orchestrate proliferation and apoptosis to control organ size. There is evidence that epithelial cell junctions may sequester the transcription factors that act downstream of these signaling pathways, which would represent an important aspect of their functional regulation and their influence on cell behavior. Here, we review the transcriptional control exerted by the Wnt and Hippo signaling pathways during epithelial growth, patterning, and differentiation and recent advances in understanding of the regulation and crosstalk of these pathways in epithelial tissues.

Keywords: Hippo pathway; Wnt signaling; cell junctions; cell polarity; growth; patterning.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Polarity
  • Epithelium / growth & development
  • Epithelium / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism*


  • Wnt Proteins
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases