An ATF2-based luciferase reporter to monitor non-canonical Wnt signaling in Xenopus embryos. uri icon


  • Non-canonical/planar cell polarity (PCP) Wnt signaling plays important roles in embryonic development and tissue homeostasis, and is implicated in human disease. Monitoring Wnt/PCP signaling relies mostly on semi-quantitative bioassays or biochemical analysis. Here we describe a luciferase reporter assay based on an ATF2 response element, which faithfully monitors non-canonical Wnt signaling in Xenopus embryos. The assay is simple, quantitative, and robust. It can be used to detect non-canonical Wnt signaling changes following gain and loss of function of pathway components, including Wnt, Frizzled, Ror2, Disheveled, Rac1, MKK7, and JNK. Wnt/PCP signaling has recently been implicated in left-right asymmetry and our reporter assay suggests that in gastrula embryos there is a right-ward bias in Wnt/PCP signaling. We also mapped Wnt/PCP signaling in the early Xenopus embryo and find that it peaks in the dorso-vegetal region, paralleling Wnt/?-catenin signaling.

publication date

  • January 2011