The Wnt signalling system has three different ‘pathways’. The coordination of these pathways enables cell-cell communication and coordination. Mutations in genes of the Wnt pathways can result in a number of diseases including cancer and diabetes.
Wnt signalling pathways are three separate pathways characterised by intracellular signalling cascades initiated by the binding of a Wnt protein to a Frizzled family receptor on the cell surface. This extracelular binding triggers intracellular signalling cascades that may influence gene transcription, the cytoskeleton, or calcium levels. Wnt signalling pathways are highly conserved between species, and are used to signal between nearby cells as well as the cell itself. This is important for the first stages of development which involve formation of the brain and spinal cord.