The hedgehog (HH) pathway is well known for its mitogenic and morphogenic functions during development, and HH signaling continues in discrete populations of cells within many adult mammalian tissues. Growing evidence indicates that HH regulates diverse quiescent stem cell populations, but the exact roles that HH signaling plays in adult organ homeostasis and regeneration remain poorly understood. Here, we review recently identified functions of HH in modulating the behavior of tissue-specific adult stem and progenitor cells during homeostasis, regeneration and disease. We conclude that HH signaling is a key factor in the regulation of adult tissue homeostasis and repair, acting via multiple different routes to regulate distinct cellular outcomes, including maintenance of plasticity, in a context-dependent manner.
Keywords: Adult stem cells; Hedgehog signaling; Homeostasis.
© 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.