Cell fate determination during developmental patterning is often controlled by concentration gradients of morphogens. In the epithelial field, morphogens like the Hedgehog (Hh) peptides diffuse both apically and basolaterally; however, whether both pools of Hh are sensed at the cellular level is unclear. Here, we show that interfering with the amount of apical Hh causes a dramatic change in the long-range activation of low-threshold Hh target genes, without similar effect on short-range, high-threshold targets. We provide genetic evidence that the glypican Dally upregulates apical Hh levels, and that the release of Dally by the hydrolase Notum promotes apical Hh long-range activity. Our data suggest that several pools of Hh are perceived in epithelial tissues. Thus, we propose that the overall gradient of Hh is a composite of pools secreted by different routes (apical and basolateral), and that a cellular summation of these components is required for appropriate developmental patterning.
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