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Annu Rev Neurosci. 2006;29:363-86.

Noncanonical Wnt signaling and neural polarity.

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Section on Developmental Neuroscience, NIDCD, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland 20982, USA.


The Wnt signaling pathway regulates multiple events in development and disease in both vertebrates and invertebrates. Recently, the noncanonical Wnt signaling cascades, those that do not signal through beta-catenin, have gained prominence for their role in the regulation of cellular polarity. It is not surprising that cellular polarization influences a number of different developmental events within the nervous system, including neurulation and neural tube closure, cellular migration, and uniform orientation of cells within an epithelial plane (planar cell polarity). In this review, we describe the differences between the canonical and noncanonical pathways, summarize recent data illustrating the roles of the noncanonical Wnt pathway in different polarizing events during neural development, and discuss the potential molecular mechanisms that underlie the generation of cellular asymmetry and polarity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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