The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 67: 65 - 78 (2023)

Vol 67, Issue 3

Insights into the role of the Wnt signaling pathway in the regeneration of animal model systems

Review | Published: 31 October 2023

Katarzyna S. Walczyńska1, Ling Zhu2,3, Yujun Liang1*

1College of Marine Life Sciences, Institute of Evolution and Marine Biodiversity, Ocean University of China, Qingdao, China, 2Key Laboratory of Sustainable Development of Marine Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Fishery Resources and Ecological Environment, Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, Qingdao, China, 3Marine Biology and Biotechnology Laboratory, Pilot National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao, China


Regeneration enables the regrowth and restoration of missing body parts. It is a common phenomenon among animals. However, only some species exhibit remarkable regeneration capabilities and can regenerate organs such as limbs, lenses or hearts. Regeneration has been widely studied, thereby giving rise to new fields, such as regenerative medicine. Furthermore, regeneration has the potential to be applied to the human body. However, the molecular mechanisms governing this process should be elucidated first. Recent advancements in research methods have led to the identification of numerous signaling pathways involved in regeneration. One of them, the Wnt transduction pathway, is an ancient and evolutionarily conserved pathway that plays an important role in both embryonic development and regeneration. The Wnt pathway plays an important role during the regeneration process, as it is implicated in cell fate determination, cell migration, cell polarity and adult cell homeostasis. To date, two major Wnt pathways have been identified: the canonical (β-catenin dependent) pathway and the non-canonical pathway. The latter pathway can be further divided into planar cell polarity, the Wnt/Ca2+ pathway and the JNK pathway. In this review, we summarize the current state of knowledge regarding the Wnt signaling pathway and its role in regeneration, with a particular emphasis on key model species.


regeneration, Wnt/β-catenin, signalling pathway, model organisms

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