Dickkopf (Dkk) genes comprise an evolutionary conserved small gene family of four members (Dkk1-4) and a unique Dkk3-related gene, Dkkl1 (soggy). They encode secreted proteins that typically antagonize Wnt/β-catenin signaling, by inhibiting the Wnt coreceptors Lrp5 and 6. Additionally, Dkks are high affinity ligands for the transmembrane proteins Kremen1 and 2, which also modulate Wnt signaling. Dkks play an important role in vertebrate development, where they locally inhibit Wnt regulated processes such as antero–posterior axial patterning, limb development, somitogenesis and eye formation. In the adult, Dkks are implicated in bone formation and bone disease, cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
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I thank Kristina Ellwanger, Andrei Glinka and Sonia Pinho for critically reading the manuscript and B Engelhardt for artwork. This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Ni 286/12-1).
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Niehrs, C. Function and biological roles of the Dickkopf family of Wnt modulators. Oncogene 25, 7469–7481 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.onc.1210054
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