Development of the mammalian kidney is initiated by ingrowth of the ureteric bud into the metanephric blastema. In response to signal(s) from the ureter, mesenchymal cells condense, aggregate into pretubular clusters, and undergo epithelialisation to form simple epithelial tubules. Subsequent morphogenesis and differentiation of the tubular epithelium lead to the establishment of a functional nephron. Here we demonstrate that Wnt-4, a secreted glycoprotein which is required for tubule formation, is sufficient to trigger tubulogenesis in isolated metanephric mesenchyme, whereas Wnt-11 which is expressed in the tip of the growing ureter is not. Wnt-4 signaling depends on cell contact and sulphated glycosaminoglycans and is only required for triggering tubulogenesis but not for later events. The Wnt-4 signal can be replaced by other members of the Wnt gene family including Wnt-1, Wnt-3a, Wnt-7a and Wnt-7b. Further, dorsal spinal cord, which has been thought to mimic ureteric signaling in tubule induction induces Wnt-4 mutant as well as wild-type mesenchyme suggesting that spinal cord derived signal(s) most likely act by mimicking the normal mesenchymal action of Wnt-4. These results lend additional support to the notion that Wnt-4 is a key auto-regulator of the mesenchymal to epithelial transformation that underpins nephrogenesis adding another level of complexity in the hierarchy of molecular events mediating tubulogenesis.