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Trends Cell Biol. 2009 Mar;19(3):119-29. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2009.01.003. Epub 2009 Feb 7.

Selective activation mechanisms of Wnt signaling pathways.

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Department of Biochemistry, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Hiroshima University, 1-2-3, Kasumi, Minami-ku, Hiroshima 734-8551, Japan.


Wnts comprise a large family of secreted, hydrophobic glycoproteins that control a variety of developmental and adult processes in all metazoan organisms, including cellular proliferation, differentiation, migration and polarity. Wnts have many receptors that are present on a variety of cell types, partly specifying which Wnt pathways are activated. Recently, evidence has been accumulating that specificity of activation downstream of Wnt is also regulated by receptor-mediated endocytosis and the presence of cofactors such as heparan sulfate proteoglycans, in addition to the formation of specific ligand-receptor pairs. Here, we describe how the different endocytic routes of Wnt receptors through caveolin and clathrin determine specificity of Wnt signaling in vertebrates.

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