Distinct functions of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in KV development and cardiac asymmetry

Xueying Lin, Xiaolei Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The Wnt/β-catenin pathway exhibits distinct and developmental stage-specific roles during cardiogenesis. However, little is known about the molecular mechanisms of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in the establishment of cardiac left-right (LR) asymmetry. Using zebrafish as an animal model, we show here that Wnt/β-catenin signaling is differentially required in cardiac LR patterning. At an early stage, during asymmetric signal generation, Wnt/β-catenin signaling is necessary for Kupffer's vesicle development and for the regulation of both heart and visceral laterality. At a later stage, during asymmetric signal propagation, excessive Wnt/β-catenin signaling inhibits the transmission of asymmetric cues from the lateral plate mesoderm (LPM) to the cardiac field but not to the developing gut; as such, it only regulates heart laterality. Molecular analysis identifies Gata4 as the downstream target of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in the cardiac field that responds to the Wnt/β-catenin signaling and regulates the competence of the heart field to express left-sided genes. In summary, our results reveal a previously unexpected role of Wnt-Gata4 signaling in the control of asymmetric signal propagation from the LPM to the cardiac field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-217
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2009


  • Gata4
  • Left-right asymmetry
  • Lefty2
  • Wnt signaling
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Distinct functions of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in KV development and cardiac asymmetry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this