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Mech Dev. 2001 Aug;106(1-2):61-76.

Antagonistic regulation of convergent extension movements in Xenopus by Wnt/beta-catenin and Wnt/Ca2+ signaling.

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  • 1Abteilung Entwicklungsbiochemie, Junior Group SFB 271, Universität Göttingen, Humboldtallee 23, D-37073, Göttingen, Germany.


Convergent extension movements are the main driving force of Xenopus gastrulation. A fine-tuned regulation of cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion is thought to be required for this process. Members of the Wnt family of extracellular glycoproteins have been shown to modulate cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion, convergent extension movements, and cell differentiation. Here we show that endogenous Wnt/beta-catenin signaling activity is essential for convergent extension movements due to its effect on gene expression rather than on cadherins. Our data also suggest that XLEF-1 rather than XTCF-3 is required for convergent extension movements and that XLEF-1 functions in this context in the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway to regulate Xnr-3. In contrast, activation of the Wnt/Ca2+ pathway blocks convergent extension movements, with potential regulation of the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway at two different levels. PKC, activated by the Wnt/Ca2+ pathway, blocks the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway upstream of beta-catenin and phosphorylates Dishevelled. CamKII, also activated by the Wnt/Ca2+ pathway, inhibits the Wnt/beta-catenin signaling cascade downstream of beta-catenin. Thus, an opposing cross-talk of two distinct Wnt signaling cascades regulates convergent extension movements in Xenopus.

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