A Comparative Perspective on Wnt/β-Catenin Signalling in Cell Fate Determination

  • Clare L. Garcin
  • Shukry J. HabibEmail author
Part of the Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation book series (RESULTS, volume 61)


The Wnt/β-catenin pathway is an ancient and highly conserved signalling pathway that plays fundamental roles in the regulation of embryonic development and adult homeostasis. This pathway has been implicated in numerous cellular processes, including cell proliferation, differentiation, migration, morphological changes and apoptosis. In this chapter, we aim to illustrate with specific examples the involvement of Wnt/β-catenin signalling in cell fate determination. We discuss the roles of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway in specifying cell fate throughout evolution, how its function in patterning during development is often reactivated during regeneration and how perturbation of this pathway has negative consequences for the control of cell fate.

The origin of all life was a single cell that had the capacity to respond to cues from the environment. With evolution, multicellular organisms emerged, and as a result, subsets of cells arose to form tissues able to respond to specific instructive signals and perform specialised functions. This complexity and specialisation required two types of messages to direct cell fate: intra- and intercellular. A fundamental question in developmental biology is to understand the underlying mechanisms of cell fate choice. Amongst the numerous external cues involved in the generation of cellular diversity, a prominent pathway is the Wnt signalling pathway in all its forms.


Stem Cell Cell Fate Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Intestinal Stem Cell Epidermal Stem Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank Dr. Molly Lowndes, Dr. Ignacio Sancho-Martienz, Dr. Kifayathullah Liakath-ali, Dr. Ajay Mishra and Dr. Beate Lichtenberger for their critical reading of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative MedicineKing’s CollegeLondonUK

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