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Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2011 Jun 1;16:2352-66.

The role of Wnt in cell signaling and cell adhesion during early vertebrate development.

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  • 1Department for Molecular Biomedical Research, VIB, B-9052 Ghent, Belgium.


During embryonic development, a group of dividing blastomeres is ultimately shaped into a structured, functional organism. To achieve this goal, individual cells and groups of cells need to move to new positions, organize themselves, and differentiate into specialized cell types. In these processes, intercellular contacts and contacts between cells and their environment play critical roles. The cells interact physically via cell adhesion molecule and communicate through signaling pathways. One of the pathways active during embryonic development is the Wnt pathway. Interestingly, Wnt and cell adhesion are often active in the same processes and crosstalk between them exists by reciprocal regulation and sharing of components. In this review, we will focus on how Wnt signaling cooperates with cell adhesion to ensure smooth processing of gastrulation, somitogenesis and neurulation.

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