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WNT / HEDGEHOG / NOTCH Signaling
The Wnt signaling pathway is a network of proteins that passes signals from receptors on the surface of the cell to DNA expression in the nucleus. It controls cell-cell communication in the embryo and adult.
The Hedgehog (Hh) family of secreted signaling proteins plays a crucial role in development of diverse animal phyla, from Drosophila to humans, regulating morphogenesis of a variety of tissues and organs. Hh signaling is also involved in control of stem cell proliferation in adult tissues and aberrant activation of the Hh pathway has been linked to multiple types of human cancer. Members of the Hh family bind to patched (ptc), thus releasing smoothened (smo) to transduce a signal. Transcriptional activation occurs through the GLI family of proteins resulting in activation of target genes.
The notch signaling pathway is a highly conserved cell signaling system present in most multicellular organisms. Notch is present in all metazoans, and mammals possess four different notch receptors, referred to as NOTCH1, NOTCH2, NOTCH3, and NOTCH4. The notch receptor is a single-pass transmembrane receptor protein.
It is a hetero-oligomer composed of a large extracellular portion, which associates in a calcium-dependent, non-covalent interaction with a smaller piece of the notch protein composed of a short extracellular region, a single transmembrane-pass, and a small intracellular region. Notch signaling promotes proliferative signaling during neurogenesis and its activity is inhibited by Numb to promote neural differentiation.