Research shows cytonemes distribute Wnt proteins in vertebrate tissue

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Sumary of Research shows cytonemes distribute Wnt proteins in vertebrate tissue:

  • A team of international researchers, including experts from the University of Exeter’s Living Systems Institute, has identified how signalling pathways of Wnt proteins — which orchestrate and control many cell developmental processes — operate on both molecular and cellular levels..
  • This information exchange between cells is often based on signalling proteins that activate specific intracellular signalling cascades to control cell behaviour at a distance..
  • However, one of the most crucial functions of the Wnt signalling is patterning of the body axis — which essentially helps determine where the head and tail should form in in a developing tissue..
  • In the new study, his team explored the role of a key component of the PCP signalling pathway Vangl2 in zebrafish embryos..
  • In this project, Dr Lucy Brunt, identified that Wnt proteins activate the PCP pathway in a source cell in order to regulate cytoneme initiation and signal dissemination..
  • By activating this pathway via Vangl2, she induced the formation of long and branched cytonemes which reinforced distant Wnt signalling in the neighbouring cells..
  • Based on these data, fellow researcher Dr Kyle Wedgwood and his team developed a mathematical model to simulate this effect in a developing zebrafish egg, and predicted that the patterning of the body axis is massively altered…

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