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Mol Biol Cell. Dec 1993; 4(12): 1267–1275.
PMCID: PMC275763

Wnt family proteins are secreted and associated with the cell surface.

Abstract

Members of the Wnt gene family are proposed to function in both normal development and differentiation as well as in mammary tumorigenesis. To understand the function of Wnt proteins in these two processes, we present here a biochemical characterization of seven Wnt family members. For these studies, AtT-20 cells, a neuroendocrine cell line previously shown to efficiently process and secrete Wnt-1, was transfected with expression vectors encoding Wnt family members. All of the newly characterized Wnt proteins are glycosylated, secreted proteins that are tightly associated with the cell surface or extracellular matrix. We have also identified native Wnt proteins in retinoic acid-treated P19 embryonal carcinoma cells, and they exhibit the same biochemical characteristics as the recombinant proteins. These data suggest that Wnt family members function in cell to cell signaling in a fashion similar to Wnt-1.

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