S J Vainio, P V Itäranta, J P Peräsaari and M S Uusitalo
Biocenter Oulu and Department of Biochemistry, Faculties of Science and Medicine, University of Oulu, Finland. Seppo.Vainio@oulu.fi
Since the discovery that inductive tissue interactions regulate nephrogenesis, one of the aims has been to identify the molecules that mediate this induction. The small size of embryonic tissue has limited the possibilities to identify the inducers biochemically, even though such efforts were directed to study, e.g. neural induction (for a comprehensive review, Saxén and Toivonen, Primary embryonic induction, Academic Press, London, 1962). The rapid progress in molecular biology made it possible to identify genes from minute amounts of tissue and provided techniques to generate recombinant proteins to assay their action in classic experimental systems. This led to the identification of some signals that are involved in primary and secondary inductive interactions during embryogenesis. Here, we will review evidence suggesting that secreted signaling molecules from the Wnt gene family mediate kidney tubule induction.