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Genes Dev. 2005 Apr 15;19(8):877-90.

Wnt signaling in the intestinal epithelium: from endoderm to cancer.

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  • 1Netherlands Institute for Developmental Biology, Hubrecht Laboratory, 3584 CT Utrecht, The Netherlands.


The Wnt pathway controls cell fate during embryonic development. It also persists as a key regulator of homeostasis in adult self-renewing tissues. In these tissues, mutational deregulation of the Wnt cascade is closely associated with malignant transformation. The intestinal epithelium represents the best-understood example for the closely linked roles of Wnt signaling in homeostatic self-renewal and malignant transformation. In this review, we outline current understanding of the physiological role of Wnt signaling in intestinal biology. From this perspective, we then describe how mutational subversion of the Wnt cascade leads to colorectal cancer.

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