In pursuit of the functions of the Wnt family of developmental regulators: insights from Xenopus laevis

Bioessays. 1993 Feb;15(2):91-7. doi: 10.1002/bies.950150204.


Wnts are a recently described family of secreted glycoproteins related to the Drosophila segment polarity gene, wingless, and to the proto-oncogene, int-1. Wnts are thought to function as developmental modulators, with signalling distances of only a few cell diameters. In Xenopus, at least six Wnts, including Xwnts-1, -3A, and -4, are expressed initially in the developing central nervous system, with some regions expressing multiple Xwnts. Xwnt-8 is expressed by mid-blastula stage, in ventral and lateral mesoderm. Xwnt-5A mRNAs are stored in the egg, and later are expressed throughout the embryo in both ectoderm and mesoderm, but with a pronounced enrichment in the head and tail. Recent studies in Xenopus have pursued the diverse roles of Xwnts in early development, the mechanisms by which Xwnts signal information between cells, and the cell physiological responses to Xwnt signals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / genetics
  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / embryology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / ultrastructure
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Larva
  • Mesoderm / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Morphogenesis / genetics
  • Multigene Family*
  • Phenotype
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Wnt1 Protein
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • Xenopus laevis / embryology
  • Xenopus laevis / genetics*
  • Xenopus laevis / growth & development
  • Zebrafish Proteins*


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Wnt1 Protein
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • Zebrafish Proteins
  • wnt8a protein, Xenopus