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Nature. 2000 Sep 28;407(6803):535-8.

An LDL-receptor-related protein mediates Wnt signalling in mice.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720, USA.


Wnt genes comprise a large family of secreted polypeptides that are expressed in spatially and tissue-restricted patterns during vertebrate embryonic development. Mutational analysis in mice has shown the importance of Wnts in controlling diverse developmental processes such as patterning of the body axis, central nervous system and limbs, and the regulation of inductive events during organogenesis. Although many components of the Wnt signalling pathway have been identified, little is known about how Wnts and their cognate Frizzled receptors signal to downstream effector molecules. Here we present evidence that a new member of the low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-receptor-related protein family, LRP6 (ref. 3), is critical for Wnt signalling in mice. Embryos homozygous for an insertion mutation in the LRP6 gene exhibit developmental defects that are a striking composite of those caused by mutations in individual Wnt genes. Furthermore, we show a genetic enhancement of a Wnt mutant phenotype in mice lacking one functional copy of LRP6. Together, our results support a broad role for LRP6 in the transduction of several Wnt signals in mammals.

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