Wnt signalling in the development of axon, dendrites and synapses

Open Biol. 2018 Oct 3;8(10):180116. doi: 10.1098/rsob.180116.


Wnts are a highly conserved family of secreted glycoproteins that play essential roles in the morphogenesis and body patterning during the development of metazoan species. In recent years, mounting evidence has revealed important functions of Wnt signalling in diverse aspects of neural development, including neuronal polarization, guidance and branching of the axon and dendrites, as well as synapse formation and its structural remodelling. In contrast to Wnt signalling in cell proliferation and differentiation, which mostly acts through β-catenin-dependent pathways, Wnts engage a diverse array of non-transcriptional cascades in neuronal development, such as the planar cell polarity, cytoskeletal or calcium signalling pathways. In this review, we summarize recent advances in the mechanisms of Wnt signalling in the development of axon, dendrite and synapse formation.

Keywords: Wnt; axon; dendrite; neuron; synapse.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / chemistry
  • Axons / metabolism*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Polarity
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Dendrites / chemistry
  • Dendrites / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal
  • Synapses / chemistry
  • Synapses / metabolism*
  • Wnt Proteins / chemistry
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism*
  • beta Catenin / chemistry
  • beta Catenin / metabolism


  • Wnt Proteins
  • beta Catenin