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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.02521

Functions of the WNT signaling network in shaping host responses to infection

Johanna K. Ljungberg1,  Jessica C. Kling1,  Thao T. Tran1 and  Antje Blumenthal1*
  • 1University of Queensland, Australia

It is well established that aberrant WNT expression and signaling is associated with developmental defects, malignant transformation and carcinogenesis. More recently, WNT ligands have emerged as integral components of host responses to infection but their functions in the context of immune responses are incompletely understood. Roles in the modulation of inflammatory cytokine production, host cell intrinsic innate defense mechanisms, as well as the bridging of innate and adaptive immunity have been described. To what degree WNT responses are defined by the nature of the invading pathogen or are specific for subsets of host cells is currently not well understood. Here we provide an overview of the nature of WNT responses during infection with phylogenetically diverse pathogens and highlight functions of WNT ligands in the host defense against infection. Detailed understanding of how the WNT network orchestrates immune cell functions will not only improve our understanding of the fundamental principles underlying complex immune response, but also help identify therapeutic opportunities or potential risks associated with the pharmacological targeting of the WNT network, as currently pursued for novel therapeutics in cancer and bone disorders.

Keywords: Wnt signalling, Antigen presenting cells (APCS), Infection, Inflammation, anti-microbial defense

Received: 01 Jul 2019; Accepted: 10 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Ljungberg, Kling, Tran and Blumenthal. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Antje Blumenthal, University of Queensland, Brisbane, 4072, Queensland, Australia,