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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2008 Aug;18(4):362-7. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2008.06.006. Epub 2008 Jul 28.

The long and the short of Wnt signaling in C. elegans.

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Graduate Program in Cellular and Molecular Biology, Department of Zoology, University of Wisconsin, 1117 W. Johnson Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA.

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  • Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2008 Oct;18(5):468.


The simplicity of C. elegans makes it an outstanding system to study the role of Wnt signaling in development. Many asymmetric cell divisions in C. elegans require the Wnt/beta-catenin asymmetry pathway. Recent studies confirm that SYS-1 is a structurally and functionally divergent beta-catenin, and implicate lipids and retrograde trafficking in maintenance of WRM-1/beta-catenin asymmetry. Wnts also regulate short-range events such as spindle rotation and gastrulation, and a PCP-like pathway regulates asymmetric divisions. Long-range, cell non-autonomous Wnt signals regulate vulval induction. Both short-range and long-range Wnt signal s are regulated by recycling of MIG-14/Wntless via the retromer complex. These studies indicate that C. elegans continues to be useful for identifying new, conserved mechanisms underlying Wnt signaling in metazoans.

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