Wnt signalling proteins regulate many aspects of animal development. We have investigated the function of mouse Wnt8b during forebrain development. Wnt8b is expressed in a highly restricted pattern including the prospective hippocampus and hypothalamus. Mutant mice lacking Wnt8b are viable and healthy. The size and morphology of the hippocampus appeared normal in mutant embryos and adults, and we found no evidence of hypothalamic defects in mutants. Wnt8b is also expressed in the neurogenic region of the adult dentate gyrus, however, cell proliferation was unchanged in Wnt8b(-/-) mutants. Mutant embryos did, however, display altered levels of expression of other Wnt genes normally expressed in forebrain. The spatial expression patterns of other Wnt genes and the overall level of canonical Wnt activity were indistinguishable from wild-types. Thus, loss of Wnt8b does not give rise to an overt morphological phenotype, but does affect expression levels of other Wnts in developing forebrain.
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