Patterning of the neural ectoderm of Xenopus laevis by the amino-terminal product of hedgehog autoproteolytic cleavage

C. J. Lai, S. C. Ekker, P. A. Beachy, R. T. Moon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

61 Scopus citations


The patterns of embryonic expression and the activities of Xenopus members of the hedgehog gene family are suggestive of roles in neural induction and patterning. We report that these hedgehog polypeptides undergo autoproteolytic cleavage. Injection into embryos of mRNAs encoding Xenopus banded-hedgehog (X-bhh) or the amino-terminal domain (N) demonstrates that the direct inductive activities of X-bhh are encoded by N. In addition, both N and X-bhh pattern neural tissue by elevating expression of anterior neural genes. Unexpectedly, an internal deletion of X-bhh (ΔN-C) was found to block the activity of X-bhh and N in explants and to reduce dorsoanterior structures in embryos. As elevated hedgehog activity increases the expression of anterior neural genes, and as ΔN-C reduces dorsoanterior structures, these complementary data support a role for hedgehog in neural induction and anteroposterior patterning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2349-2360
Number of pages12
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995



  • Drosophila
  • Hedgehog
  • Neural induction
  • Protein processing
  • Spatial patterning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology

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