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Nat Rev Immunol. 2008 Aug;8(8):581-93. doi: 10.1038/nri2360.

WNT signalling in the immune system: WNT is spreading its wings.

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Department of Immunology, Erasmus University Medical Center, 3015 GE, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


WNT proteins are secreted morphogens that are required for basic developmental processes, such as cell-fate specification, progenitor-cell proliferation and the control of asymmetric cell division, in many different species and organs. In blood and immune cells, WNT signalling controls the proliferation of progenitor cells and might also affect the cell-fate decisions of stem cells. Recent studies indicate that WNT proteins also regulate effector T-cell development, regulatory T-cell activation and dendritic-cell maturation. WNT signalling seems to function as a universal mechanism in leukocytes to establish a pool of undifferentiated cells for further selection, effector-cell maturation and terminal differentiation. WNT signalling is therefore subject to strict molecular control, and dysregulated WNT signalling is implicated in the development of haematological malignancies.

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