Int. J. Dev. Biol. 56: 53 - 65 (2012)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.113451ma
© UBC Press

Wnt signaling in planarians: new answers to old questions

Maria Almuedo-Castillo, Miquel Sureda-Gmez and Teresa Adell*

Department of Genetics and Institute of Biomedicine, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

ABSTRACT Wnts are secreted glycoproteins involved in a broad range of essential cell functions, including proliferation, migration and cell-fate determination. Recent years have seen substantial research effort invested in elucidating the role of the Wnt signaling pathway in planarians, flatworms with incredible regenerative capacities. In this review, we summarize current knowledge on the role of canonical (β-catenin-dependent) and non-canonical (β-catenin-independent) Wnt signaling in planarians, not only during regeneration, but also during normal homeostasis. We also describe some of the preliminary data that has been obtained regarding the role of these pathways during embryogenesis. Models are proposed to integrate the different results which have been obtained to date and highlight those questions that still remain to be answered.

Keywords:

planarian, Wnt signalling, regeneration, development, axial polarity

*Corresponding author e-mail: tadellc@ub.edu