The Ryk receptor belongs to the atypical receptor tyrosine kinase family. It is a new member of the family of Wnt receptor proteins. However, the molecular mechanisms by which the Ryk receptor functions remain unknown. Here, we report that mammalian Ryk, unlike the Drosophila Ryk homolog Derailed, functions as a coreceptor along with Frizzled for Wnt ligands. Ryk also binds to Dishevelled, through which it activates the canonical Wnt pathway, providing a link between Wnt and Dishevelled. Transgenic mice expressing Ryk siRNA exhibit defects in axon guidance, and Ryk is required for neurite outgrowth induced by Wnt-3a and in the activation of T cell factor (TCF) induced by Wnt-1. Thus, Ryk appears to play a crucial role in Wnt-mediated signaling.
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