Additionally, as a variety of accessory factors have been reporte

Additionally, as a variety of accessory factors have been reported to facilitate Wnt secretion and extracellular transport, it will be necessary to investigate the relative activities of these distinct pathways on Wnt transport and function. The complexity will increase exponentially if we consider the potential crosstalk among various factors and the existence of multiple Wnt isoforms. Studies can focus on different recipient cell types, different binding receptors, and different downstream pathways, etc. Such studies will provide us with important biological insights into Wnt signaling

and ultimately lead to novel strategies to specifically intervene in the treatment of Wnt-related diseases. Papers of particular interest, published within the period of check details review, have been highlighted as: • of special interest “
“Current mTOR inhibitor Opinion in Genetics & Development 2014, 27:102–108 This review comes from a themed issue on Developmental mechanisms, patterning and evolution Edited by Lee A Niswander and Lori Sussel For a complete overview see the Issue and the Editorial Available online 5th July 2014

0959-437X/© 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license ( Animals are composed of cell types of distinct structure and function. Epithelial cell types provide barriers between environments; muscle cell types contain contractile filaments enabling all sorts of movement; neuron Glutamate dehydrogenase types with their dendrites and axons allow directed information transfer via synapses; sensory cell types read environmental cues; and immune cells with their multitude of specific and unspecific receptors constitute the organismal defence system. What is a cell type? In essence, the definition of a cell type is structural.

It refers to a specific phenotype, or ‘morphotype’ [1], of differentiated cells in the organismal context. Obviously, the cell type structure is a manifestation of its molecular composition, adapted to specific functions. Typically, cellular functions require the cooperation of many proteins and other biomolecules that constitute ‘modules’ [2, 3 and 4]. We can thus envisage a cell type as an assembly of modules exerting discrete subfunctions. For example, a sensory or motile cilium, or the actomyosin contractile machinery is a cellular module; an assembly of membrane channels that enables action potentials is a module, as are the various signalling cascades. Modularity is clearly favoured in evolution, as it facilitates the adaptive variation of one module without perturbing the other and thus increases fitness in changing environments [5 and 6].

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