Wnt proteins

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Wnt proteins are a family of proteins that are involved in cell signalling and communication. They act as local mediators and have been recognised as important molecules in all animal [1]. Mutations in Wnt protein genes have been identified as the causes of wingless offspring in Drosphiilia and cancer in humans. Three pathways have been identified as involving the Wnt proteins:

  1. Wnt/ß-catenin pathway regulates protolysis of ß-catenin.
  2. planar polarity pathway which coordiante the polarisation of cells in a developing epithelium
  3. Wnt/Ca2+ pathway which causes the level of calcium ions inside the cell to rise.

All of these pathways involve the Wnt protein binding to specific Frizzled receptors, which are on the cell membrane. Frizzled receptors then use Dishevelled, a particular protein that is needed for the signal to move along the pathways.


  1. Bruce Alberts. Alexander Johnson. Julian Lewis. Martin Raff. Keith Roberts. Peter Walter. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 5th Edition. Garland Science. 2008
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