Multiple functions of the noncanonical Wnt pathway

Trends Genet. 2013 Sep;29(9):545-53. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2013.06.003. Epub 2013 Jul 8.


Thirty years after the identification of WNTs, understanding of their signal transduction pathways continues to expand. Here, we review recent advances in characterizing the Wnt-dependent signaling pathways in Caenorhabditis elegans linking polar signals to rearrangements of the cytoskeleton in different developmental processes, such as proper mitotic spindle orientation, cell migration, and engulfment of apoptotic corpses. In addition to the well-described transcriptional outputs of the canonical and noncanonical Wnt pathways, new branches regulating nontranscriptional outputs that control RAC (Ras related GTPase) activity are also discussed. These findings suggest that Wnt signaling is a master regulator not only of development, but also of cell polarization.

Keywords: Caenorhabditis elegans; Wnt pathway; apoptosis; fate; migration; polarity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / growth & development
  • Cell Movement
  • Cytoskeleton / genetics
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Rearrangement
  • Mitosis / genetics
  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway / genetics*


  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins