The full-length unprocessed hedgehog protein is an active signaling molecule

Robert Tokhunts, Samer Singh, Tehyen Chu, Gisela D'Angelo, Valerie Baubet, John A. Goetz, Zhen Huang, Ziqiang Yuan, Manuel Ascano, Yana Zavros, Pascal P. Thérond, Sam Kunes, Nadia Dahmane, David J. Robbins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The hedgehog (HH) family of ligands plays an important instructional role in metazoan development. HH proteins are initially produced as -45-kDa full-length proteins, which undergo an intramolecular cleavage to generate an amino-terminal product that subsequently becomes cholesterol-modified (HH-Np). It is well accepted that this cholesterol-modified amino-terminal cleavage product is responsible for all HH-dependent signaling events. Contrary to this model we show here that full-length forms ofHHproteins are able to traffic to the plasma membrane and participate directly in cell-cell signaling, both in vitro and in vivo. We were also able to rescue a Drosophila eye-specific hh loss of function phenotype by expressing a full-length form of hh that cannot be processed into HH-Np. These results suggest that in some physiological contexts full-length HH proteins may participate directly in HH signaling and that this novel activity of full-length HH may be evolutionarily conserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2562-2568
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 22 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'The full-length unprocessed hedgehog protein is an active signaling molecule'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this