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Sci Signal. 2008 Sep 2;1(35):re9. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.135re9.

Alternative wnt signaling is initiated by distinct receptors.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Developmental Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


An unanswered question in the field of signal transduction research is how different signaling pathways are activated with strict specificity in a temporally and spatially controlled manner. Because extracellular ligands and membrane receptors constitute the first signaling modalities for most pathways, selectivity in ligand-receptor binding likely dictates the outcome of downstream signaling events. Unfortunately, possible complexities underlying ligand-receptor interactions are often overlooked. Here, we discuss basic principles of signal transduction initiated at the cell membrane, with the Wnt pathway, which harbors a multitude of ligands and receptors, as an example.

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