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Mol Cell. 2001 Jun;7(6):1279-91.

A hedgehog-insensitive form of patched provides evidence for direct long-range morphogen activity of sonic hedgehog in the neural tube.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Howard Hughes Institute, Columbia University, 701 West 168th Street, 10032, New York, NY, USA.


Cell pattern in the ventral neural tube is organized by Sonic hedgehog (Shh) secreted by floor plate cells. To assay the range of direct Shh action, we developed a general method for blocking transduction of Hedgehog (Hh) signals through ectopic expression of a deleted form of the Hh receptor Patched (Ptc), termed Ptc(Deltaloop2). We validated this method in Drosophila and used mouse Ptc1(Deltaloop2) (mPtc1(Deltaloop2)) to block Shh transduction in the chick neural tube. mPtc1(Deltaloop2) expression caused cell-autonomous ventral-to-dorsal switches in progenitor identity and neuronal fate throughout the ventral neural tube, supporting a gradient mechanism whereby Shh acts directly and at long range. mPtc1(Deltaloop2) expression also caused the abnormal spread of Shh to more dorsal cells, indicating that Shh in the neural tube, like Hh in Drosophila, induces a feedback mechanism that limits its range of action.

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