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Cell. 2001 Dec 28;107(7):843-54.

Wnt/Frizzled activation of Rho regulates vertebrate gastrulation and requires a novel Formin homology protein Daam1.

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  • 1Division of Neuroscience, Children's Hospital, Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Wnt signaling via the Frizzled (Fz) receptor controls cell polarity and movement during development, but the molecular nature of Wnt/Fz polarity signal transduction remains poorly defined. Here we report that in human cells and during Xenopus embryogenesis, Wnt/Fz signaling activates the small GTPase Rho, a key regulator of cytoskeleton architecture. Wnt/Fz activation of Rho requires the cytoplasmic protein Dishevelled (Dvl) and a novel Formin homology protein Daam1. Daam1 binds to both Dvl and Rho, and mediates Wnt-induced Dvl-Rho complex formation. Inhibition or depletion of Daam1 prevents Wnt/Fz activation of Rho and of Xenopus gastrulation, but not of beta-catenin signaling. Our study illustrates a molecular pathway from Wnt/Fz signaling to Rho activation in cell polarity signal transduction.

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