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Wnt signalling plays essential roles during embryonic development and is known to be mis-regulated in human disease. There are many molecular mechanisms that ensure tight regulation of Wnt activity. One such regulator is the heparan-sulfate-specific 6-O-endosulfatase Sulf1. Sulf1 acts extracellularly to modify the structure of heparan sulfate chains to affect the bio-availability of Wnt ligands. Sulf1 could, therefore, influence the formation of Wnt signalling complexes to modulate the activation of both canonical and non-canonical pathways. In this study, we use well-established assays in Xenopus to investigate the ability of Sulf1 to modify canonical and non-canonical Wnt signalling. In addition, we model the ability of Sulf1 to influence morphogen gradients using fluorescently tagged Wnt ligands in ectodermal explants. We show that Sulf1 overexpression has ligand-specific effects on Wnt signalling: it affects membrane accumulation and extracellular levels of tagged Wnt8a and Wnt11b ligands differently, and inhibits the activity of canonical Wnt8a but enhances the activity of non-canonical Wnt11b. © 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


Simon W Fellgett, Richard J Maguire, Mary Elizabeth Pownall. Sulf1 has ligand-dependent effects on canonical and non-canonical Wnt signalling. Journal of cell science. 2015 Apr 1;128(7):1408-21

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PMID: 25681501

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