Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Wnt-Frizzled signaling is an essential aspect of early development, regulating cell fate, polarity, differentiation, and migration. In addition to the well-known Wnt/beta-catenin pathway characterized for Frizzled-1, there are other pathways regulated by Wnts that are not mediated by Frizzled-1 and do not lead to stabilization of beta-catenin and activation of the Lef/Tcf-sensitive transcription of genes. The first of these non-canonical pathways to be identified is the Wnt/Ca++ pathway in which Frizzled-2 activation leads to release of beta/gamma subunit complexes from heterotrimeric G-proteins (presumably Go and Gt) to activate phospholipase C and other effectors to stimulate a mobilization of intracellular Ca++. More recently a second, related pathway of Wnt-Frizzled signaling has been discovered that regulates the intracellular levels of cyclic GMP. Frizzled-2, established as a member of the family of 7TMS receptors that couple by heterotrimeric G-proteins to effectors, can signal via the G-protein Gt2, transducin, a G-protein prominent in phototransduction in the eye, to cyclic GMP phosphodiesterase. The discovery of the expression of Gt2 in embryonic cells was co-incident with the demonstration that inhibitors of cyclic GMP phosphodiesterase potently blocked various features of Frizzled-2 signaling in mouse embryonic F9 cells and in zebrafish embryos. The signal linkage map from Wnt to changes in intracellular cyclic GMP and development is the focus of this review. The molecular features of how changes in intracellular cyclic GMP concentrations control development remain to be elucidated.