SFRP family consists of five secreted glycoproteins in humans acting as extracellular signaling ligands. Each is approximately 3 amino acids in length and contains a cysteine-rich domain (CRD) that shares 3-5% sequence homology with the CRD of Frizzled (Fz) receptors, a putative signal sequence, and a conserved hydrophilic carboxy-terminal domain. SFRPs act as soluble modulators of Wnt signaling, counteracting Wnt-induced effects at high concentrations and promoting them at lower concentrations. SFRPs are able to bind Wnt proteins and Fz receptors in the extracellular compartment. The interaction between SFRPs and Wnt proteins prevents the latter from binding the Fz receptors. The Wnt pathway plays a key role in embryonic development, cell differentiation and cell proliferation. SFRP4 is a member of the SFRP family that contains a cysteine-rich domain homologous to the putative Wnt-binding site of Frizzled proteins called FZ domain and a NTR domain. Mouse SFRP4 is highly expressed in the ovary, and is localized to granulosa cells of periovulatory follicles and corpora lutea. It plays a critical role in placental development and implantation, and is also an important factor in the development of the decidual fibrinoid zone, and in trophoblast apoptosis.
secreted frizzled-related protein 4
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