2Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Universitätsstrasse 10, Box 643, Konstanz 78457, Germany; fax: (0049) 7531-884-944; E-mail: email@example.com
Received May 24, 2010; Revision received July 27, 2010
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) represent the biggest transmembrane receptor family. The Frizzled group of GPCRs is evolutionarily conserved and serves to transduce signals from the Wnt-type lipoglycoprotein growth factors. The Wnt/Frizzled signaling cascades are repeatedly used during animal development and are mostly silent in the adult. Improper activation of these cascades, e.g. through somatic mutation, underlies cancer development in various tissues. Our research over the past years has identified the trimeric G proteins as crucial transducers of the Wnt/Frizzled cascades in insect and mammalian cells. The current mini-review summarizes our findings on the role of G proteins in Wnt/Frizzled signaling, as well as on identification of other signaling intermediates in this physiologically and pathologically important type of intracellular signal transduction.
KEY WORDS: Wnt, Frizzled, G protein-coupled receptor, trimeric G proteins, development, carcinogenesis, morphogen