Canonical and noncanonical Wnt signaling in neural stem/progenitor cells.
Bengoa-Vergniory N., Kypta RM.
The first mammalian Wnt to be discovered, Wnt-1, was found to be essential for the development of a large part of the mouse brain over 25 years ago. We have since learned that Wnt family secreted glycolipoproteins, of which there are nineteen, which activate a diverse network of signals that are particularly important during embryonic development and tissue regeneration. Wnt signals in the developing and adult brain can drive neural stem cell self-renewal, expansion, asymmetric cell division, maturation and differentiation. The molecular events taking place after a Wnt binds to its cell-surface receptors are complex and, at times, controversial. A deeper understanding of these events is anticipated to lead to improvements in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and stem cell-based replacement therapies. Here, we review the roles played by Wnts in neural stem cells in the developing mouse brain, at neurogenic sites of the adult mouse and in neural stem cell culture models.