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Cell Biol Int. 2007 Sep;31(9):939-49. Epub 2007 Mar 18.

Isolation and characterization of Wnt pathway-related genes from Porifera.

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Institut für Physiologische Chemie, Abteilung Angewandte Molekularbiologie, Universität, Duesbergweg 6, D-55099 Mainz, Germany.


The Wnt signal acts by binding to Frizzled receptors, with the subsequent activation of two different signal transduction cascades, the canonical and the non-canonical Wnt pathways, involved in cell growth, differentiation, migration and fate. The canonical pathway functions through the translocation of beta-catenin to the nucleus and the activation of TCF/LEF transcription factors; it plays an important role in developmental patterning and cell fate decisions during embryogenesis. The non-canonical Wnt pathway is responsible for the planar cell polarity process in invertebrates, and for the convergent-extension movements during vertebrate gastrulation. The final effect of the non-canonical Wnt pathway is the rearrangement of the cell cytoskeleton, through the activation of the subfamily of Ras-like small GTPases. In a recent report we described for the first time the isolation of a Wnt-related gene, Sd-Frizzled, from the most basal animal phylum, the Porifera. In the present study we report the isolation and phylogenetic characterization of several Wnt pathway-related genes from the sponge Suberites domuncula: Sd-TCF/LEF, Sd-GSK3, a recently discovered molecule with a putative function as a Wnt regulator (Sd-LZIC), the small Rho GTPases Sd-RhoA, Sd-Cdc42, and their effector Sd-mrlc. Also the isolation of a secreted frizzled related protein sFRP from another sponge species (Lubomirskia baicalensis) is reported.

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