Wnt signaling in orofacial clefts: Crosstalk, pathogenesis and models

Kurt Reynolds, Priyanka Kumari, Lessly Sepulveda Rincon, Ran Gu, Yu Ji, Santosh Kumar, Chengji Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Diverse signaling cues and attendant proteins work together during organogenesis, including craniofacial development. Lip and palate formation starts as early as the fourth week of gestation in humans or embryonic day 9.5 in mice. Disruptions in these early events may cause serious consequences, such as orofacial clefts, mainly cleft lip and/or cleft palate. Morphogenetic Wnt signaling, along with other signaling pathways and transcription regulation mechanisms, plays crucial roles during embryonic development, yet the signaling mechanisms and interactions in lip and palate formation and fusion remain poorly understood. Various Wnt signaling and related genes have been associated with orofacial clefts. This Review discusses the role of Wnt signaling and its crosstalk with cell adhesion molecules, transcription factors, epigenetic regulators and other morphogenetic signaling pathways, including the Bmp, Fgf, Tgfβ, Shh and retinoic acid pathways, in orofacial clefts in humans and animal models, which may provide a better understanding of these disorders and could be applied towards prevention and treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdmm037051
JournalDMM Disease Models and Mechanisms
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • Bmp
  • Cleft lip
  • Cleft palate
  • Crosstalk
  • Epigenetics
  • Fgf
  • Orofacial clefts
  • Retinoic acid
  • Shh
  • Tgfβ
  • Wnt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Immunology and Microbiology (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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