Wnts: up-and-coming at the synapse

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Neurobiology; Budnik Lab

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; Base Sequence; Frizzled Receptors; Gene Expression Regulation; Humans; Molecular Sequence Data; Nervous System; Neuronal Plasticity; Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid; Signal Transduction; Synapses; Wnt Proteins


Neuroscience and Neurobiology


Synaptic development, function and plasticity are highly regulated processes requiring a precise coordination of pre- and postsynaptic events. Recent studies have begun to highlight Wingless-Int (Wnt) signaling as a key player in synapse differentiation and function. Emerging roles of Wnts include the differentiation of synaptic specializations, microtubule dynamics, architecture of synaptic protein organization, modulation of synaptic efficacy and regulation of gene expression. These processes are driven by a variety of Wnt transduction pathways. Combined with a myriad of Wnts and Frizzled receptor family members, these pathways highlight the versatility of Wnt signaling and the potential for combinatorial use of these pathways in different aspects of synapse development and function. The identification of neurons secreting Wnt and those containing molecular components downstream of Frizzled receptors indicates that Wnts can function both as anterograde and retrograde signals. These studies open new avenues for understanding how embryonic morphogens are utilized during the development and function of synaptic networks.

DOI of Published Version



Trends Neurosci. 2007 Jun;30(6):268-75. Epub 2007 Apr 27. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Trends in neurosciences

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID