The Wnt signaling pathways and cell adhesion
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In multicellular organisms, the processes of tissue and organ formation are governed by morphogenetic signaling pathways. The Wnt pathways regulate morphogenesis by controlling cell adhesion and migration; processes that when corrupted, lead to tumorgenesis. It is well known that the Wnt signaling pathways affect adhesion and migration via downstream effectors. Canonical Wnt signaling regulates cell adhesion by regulating the stability of beta-Catenin, a component of the adherens junction. Whereas, non-canonical signaling modulates cytoskeletal dynamics by regulating the activity of downstream effectors that function to organize the cytoskeleton. Recent studies have uncovered a multitude of points of crosstalk between the Wnt pathways and the mechanisms that control cellular architecture, from the level of receptors to the level of transcription. At the same time, cellular mechanisms that are responsible for the regulation of adhesion and migration also function to modulate the activity of several Wnt pathway components. Uncovering these points of crosstalk may lead to better understanding and treatment of the processes that can lead to tumorgenesis.
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