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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2006 Apr;17(2):175-84. Epub 2006 Apr 25.

Wnt/beta-catenin signaling and body plan formation in mouse embryos.

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Department of Anatomy, Biochemistry and Physiology, Institute for Biogenesis Research, University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine, 651 Ilalo Street, Honolulu, 96813, USA.


Wnt/beta-catenin signaling plays fundamental roles in body patterning in many invertebrate and vertebrate species, by acting as a key regulator of germ layer and body axis specification. This article focuses on the roles of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling in mouse early embryos, which exhibit a unique mode of development compared to non-mammalian vertebrates. Current experimental evidence suggests that Wnt/beta-catenin signaling is not essential for patterning embryos before implantation. However, Wnt/beta-catenin signaling regulates critical developmental events after implantation, namely the patterning of visceral endoderm, the induction of primitive streak, and the formation of anterior neural ectoderm. While Wnt/beta-catenin signaling regulates the body axis formation in both mouse and frog, the mode of its action is significantly diverged between these two vertebrate species.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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