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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2003 Feb;13(1):28-33.

You Wnt some, you lose some: oncogenes in the Wnt signaling pathway.

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Hubrecht Laboratory, Netherlands Institute for Developmental Biology, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


The highly regulated Wnt signaling cascade plays a decisive role during embryonic patterning and cell-fate determination. The inappropriate expression of Wnt target genes, resulting from deregulation of this pathway, is also implicated in tumorigenesis. Thus, regulation of this pathway is of paramount importance. The Wnt signals are extracellularly regulated by a diverse group of antagonists, cofactors and coreceptors. In the cytoplasm, beta-catenin, a key effector of the Wnt signaling cascade, is highly regulated by a large and fascinating complex of proteins. In the nucleus, activation of target genes is regulated by a complex interplay of activators, repressors and other proteins. Recently, new factors in this pathway have been identified and the interplay and mechanisms of action of key players have been better characterized. Collectively, this represents an important step forward in our understanding of the role of Wnt signaling in development and oncogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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