Tubby-like protein 3 (TULP3) regulates patterning in the mouse embryo through inhibition of Hedgehog signaling

Hum Mol Genet. 2009 May 15;18(10):1740-54. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddp113. Epub 2009 Mar 12.


Tubby-like protein 3 (TULP3) is required for proper embryonic development in mice. Disruption of mouse Tulp3 results in morphological defects in the embryonic craniofacial regions, the spinal neural tube and the limbs. Here, we show that TULP3 functions as a novel negative regulator of Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling in the mouse. In Tulp3 mutants, ventral cell types in the lumbar neural tube, which acquire their identities in response to Shh signaling, are ectopically specified at the expense of dorsal cell types. Genetic epistasis experiments show that this ventralized phenotype occurs independently of Shh and the transmembrane protein Smoothened, but it is dependent on the transcription factor Gli2. The ventralized phenotype is also dependent on the kinesin II subunit Kif3A, which is required for intraflagellar transport and ciliogenesis. In addition, TULP3 is required for proper Shh-dependent limb patterning and for maintaining the correct balance between differentiation and proliferation in the neural tube. Finally, the localization of TULP3 to the tips of primary cilia raises the possibility that it regulates the Hedgehog pathway within this structure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning*
  • Down-Regulation
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Embryonic Development*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Hedgehog Proteins / genetics
  • Hedgehog Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mutation
  • Neural Tube / embryology
  • Neural Tube / metabolism
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Spinal Cord / embryology
  • Spinal Cord / metabolism


  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Proteins
  • Shh protein, mouse
  • Tulp3 protein, mouse