, Volume 7, Issue 6, pp 587-593
Date: 31 Mar 2012

Wntless in Wnt secretion: molecular, cellular and genetic aspects

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Throughout the animal kingdom, Wnt-triggered signal transduction pathways play fundamental roles in embryonic development and tissue homeostasis. Wnt proteins are modified as glycolipoproteins and are secreted into the extracellular environment as morphogens. Recent studies on the intracellular trafficking of Wnt proteins demonstrate multiple layers of regulation along its secretory pathway. These findings have propelled a great deal of interest among researchers to further investigate the molecular mechanisms that control the release of Wnts and hence the level of Wnt signaling. This review is dedicated to Wntless, a putative G-protein coupled receptor that transports Wnts intracellularly for secretion. Here, we highlight the conclusions drawn from the most recent cellular, molecular and genetic studies that affirm the role of Wntless in the secretion of Wnt proteins.