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Keywords:

  • cysteine-rich domains;
  • developmental tyrosine kinases;
  • Frizzled;
  • Wingless

Abstract

In Drosophila, members of the Frizzled family of tissue-polarity genes encode proteins that appear to function as cell-surface receptors for Wnts. The Frizzled genes belong to the seven transmembrane class of receptors (7TMR) and have on their extracellular region a cysteine-rich domain that has been implicated as the Wnt binding domain. This region has a characteristic spacing of ten cysteines, which has also been identified in FrzB (a secreted antagonist of Wnt signaling) and Smoothened (another 7TMR, which is involved in suppression of the hedgehog pathway). We have identified, using BLAST, sequence similarity between the cysteine-rich domain of Frizzled and several receptor tyrosine kinases, which have roles in development. These include the muscle-specific receptor tyrosine kinase (MuSK), the neuronal specific kinase (NSK2), and RORl and ROR2. At present, the ligands for these developmental tyrosine kinases are unknown. Our results suggest that Wnt-like ligands may bind to these developmental tyrosine kinases