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Cell. 1996 Jul 26;86(2):221-32.

The Drosophila smoothened gene encodes a seven-pass membrane protein, a putative receptor for the hedgehog signal.

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  • 1Institut für Molekularbiologie II der Universität Zürich, Switzerland.


Smoothened (smo) is a segment polarity gene required for correct patterning of every segment in Drosophila. The earliest defect in smo mutant embryos is loss of expression of the Hedgehog-responsive gene wingless between 1 and 2 hr after gastrulation. Since smo mutant embryos cannot respond to exogenous Hedgehog (Hh) but can respond to exogenous Wingless, the smo product functions in Hh signaling. Smo acts downstream of or in parallel to Patched, an antagonist of the Hh signal. The smo gene encodes an integral membrane protein with characteristics of G protein-coupled receptors and shows homology to the Drosophila Frizzled protein. Based on its predicted physical characteristics and on its position in the Hh signaling pathway, we suggest that smo encodes a receptor for the Hh signal.

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