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The Wnt signalling pathway is involved in stem cell maintenance, differentiation and tissue development. Its disregulation has also been implicated in many cancers. Beta-catenin is a protein that regulates both transcription of many genes and cell-cell adhesion; in response to an external Wnt stimulus the intracellular levels of beta-catenin are controlled by the proteins which make up the Wnt/beta-catenin signalling pathway. In this paper we present a systematic asymptotic analysis of an existing model of the Wnt signalling pathway due to Lee et al. (PLoS Biol 1:116-132, 2003), highlighting the operation of different pathway components over different timescales. Guided by this analysis we derive a simplified model which is shown to retain the essential behaviour of the full Wnt pathway, recreating the accumulation and degradation of beta-catenin in response to a Wnt stimulus.

Original publication




Journal article


J Math Biol

Publication Date





131 - 160


Animals, Feedback, Physiological, Humans, Mathematical Concepts, Models, Biological, Signal Transduction, Wnt Proteins, beta Catenin