Wnt signaling in the anteroposterior patterning of nervous systems.
Fernandes Póvoa, E.E.
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Nervous systems are amongst the most astonishing and intriguing outcomes of metazoan evolution. Wnt signaling encompasses a complex mechanism of cell-cell communication which has been extensively implicated in correct embryonic development and adult functioning of these systems. Moreover, impairments in these communication mechanisms have been associated with debilitating neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases, as well as with severe birth defects. In bilaterian animals, Wnt signaling is also crucial in the embryonic anteroposterior polarization which establishes the primary body axis. In this review, I will highlight our current understanding of the role of Wnt signaling in the polarized establishment and patterning of the nervous system along the anteroposterior body axis, by integrating evidence from both vertebrate and invertebrate model organisms.