Summer publications of the CMMI/Special focus: how do cells decode the various Wnt signaling pathways

Wnt signaling is key to several important processes, both in health and disease. The genes encoding the Wnt ligand and its receptor Frizzled have undergone extensive duplications during evolution, but how vertebrate cells are able to “decode” their 19 Wnt ligands and therefore make a variety of functions emerge from this genetic diversity was still largely unknown.

In “A molecular mechanism for Wnt ligand-specific signaling”, published this summer in Science, our colleague Benoit Vanhollebeke, his team and collaborators from the UCL NanoBiophysics Lab and Max Planck Institute for lung and heart research found some important pieces of the puzzle of Wnt signaling diversity. They dissect the molecular mechanism for Wnt7-specific signaling and unravel the central role played by Reck, GPR124 and Dishevelled the process. It can be hypothesized that other Wnt or Frizzled family members are decoded in a similar manner through other accessory proteins.


A molecular mechanism for Wnt ligand-specific signaling.
Eubelen M, Bostaille N, Cabochette P, Gauquier A, Tebabi P, Dumitru AC, Koehler M, Gut P, Alsteens D, Stainier DYR, Garcia-Pino A, Vanhollebeke B.
Science. 2018 Aug 17;361(6403). pii: eaat1178. Epub 2018 Jul 19.