The Wnt genes encode a large family of secreted polypeptides that mediate cell-cell communication in diverse developmental processes. The loss or inappropriate activation of Wnt expression has been shown to alter cell fate, morphogenesis and mitogenesis. Recent progress has identified Wnt receptors and components of an intracellular signalling pathway that mediate Wnt-dependent transcription. This review will highlight this ‘core’ Wnt signal-transduction pathway, but also aims to reveal the potential diversity of Wnt signalling targets. Particular attention will be paid to the overlap between developmental biology and oncogenesis, since recent progress shows Wnt signalling forms a paradigm for an interdisciplinary approach.

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