Special Viewpoints

The Promise and Perils of Wnt Signaling Through β-Catenin

Science  31 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5573, pp. 1644-1646
DOI: 10.1126/science.1071549

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Abstract

Wnt pathways are involved in the control of gene expression, cell behavior, cell adhesion, and cell polarity. In addition, they often operate in combination with other signaling pathways. The Wnt/β-catenin pathway is the best studied of the Wnt pathways and is highly conserved through evolution. In this pathway, Wnt signaling inhibits the degradation of β-catenin, which can regulate transcription of a number of genes. Some of the genes regulated are those associated with cancer and other diseases (for example, colorectal cancer and melanomas). As a result, components of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway are promising targets in the search for therapeutic agents. Information about Wnt pathways is available both in canonical terms and at the species level. In addition to the canonical Wnt/β-catenin pathway, information is now available forDrosophila, Caenorhabditis elegans, andXenopus. The STKE Connections Maps for these pathways provide an important tool in accessing this large body of complex information.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: rtmoon{at}u.washington.edu

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