The establishment of planar cell polarity (PCP) in epithelial and mesenchymal cells is a critical, evolutionarily conserved process during development and organogenesis. Analyses in Drosophila and several vertebrate model organisms have contributed a wealth of information on the regulation of PCP. A key conserved pathway regulating PCP, the so-called core Wnt-Frizzled PCP (Fz/PCP) signaling pathway, was initially identified through genetic studies of Drosophila. PCP studies in vertebrates, most notably mouse and zebrafish, have identified novel factors in PCP signaling and have also defined cellular features requiring PCP signaling input. These studies have shifted focus to the role of Van Gogh (Vang)/Vangl genes in this molecular system. This review focuses on new insights into the core Fz/Vangl/PCP pathway and recent advances in Drosophila and vertebrate PCP studies. We attempt to integrate these within the existing core Fz/Vangl/PCP signaling framework.
Keywords: Dishevelled; Frizzled; PCP; Vangl; Wnt; morphogenesis.