Wnt/β-catenin signaling in adult mammalian epithelial stem cells

Dev Biol. 2017 Aug 15;428(2):273-282. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2017.05.015. Epub 2017 May 17.


Adult stem cells self-renew and replenish differentiated cells in various organs and tissues throughout a mammal's life. Over the last 25 years an ever-growing body of knowledge has unraveled the essential regulation of adult mammalian epithelia by the canonical Wnt signaling with its key intracellular effector β-catenin. In this review, we discuss the principles of the signaling pathway and its role in adult epithelial stem cells of the intestine and skin during homeostasis and tumorigenesis. We further highlight the research that led to the identification of new stem cell markers and methods to study adult stem cells ex vivo.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Self Renewal / genetics
  • Cell Self Renewal / physiology
  • Epidermal Cells
  • Epidermis / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway / genetics
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway / physiology*
  • beta Catenin / metabolism*


  • beta Catenin