Cell Biology

Easing the Way Out

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Science  26 May 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5777, pp. 1107
DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5777.1107b

During animal development, proteins of the Wnt family act as morphogens, establishing gradients of molecules that control gene expression and cell fate. Many players in the Wnt signaling pathway have been identified in a variety of animal systems, including the morphogen itself and its cognate receptor, and also the many downstream components. Bänziger et al. and Bartscherer et al. have independently identified a new player in the pathway, respectively calling it wntless (wls) or evenness interrupted (evi). Wls/Evi is a conserved multipass transmembrane protein specifically found in Wnt-secreting cells, and it appears to promote the secretion of Wnt proteins in Drosophila, C. elegans, and humans. Wnt signaling relies on a functional interaction with Wls/Evi in the secretory pathway, which may involve the regulation of intracellular trafficking or covalent modification of Wnt. — SMH

Cell 125, 509; 523 (2006).

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