Requirement of 19K form of Sonic hedgehog for induction of distinct ventral cell types in CNS explants

Nature. 1995 May 25;375(6529):322-5. doi: 10.1038/375322a0.


The identity and patterning of ventral cell types in the vertebrate central nervous system depends on cell interactions. For example, induction of a specialized population of ventral midline cells, the floor plate, appears to require contact-mediated signalling by the underlying notochord, whereas diffusible signals from the notochord and floor plate can induce ventrolaterally positioned motor neurons. Sonic hedgehog (Shh), a vertebrate hedgehog-family member, is processed to generate two peptides (M(r) 19K and 26/27K) which are secreted by both of these organizing centres. Moreover, experiments in a variety of vertebrate embryos, and in neural explants in vitro, indicate that Shh can mediate floor-plate induction. Here we have applied recombinant Shh peptides to neural explants in serum-free conditions. High concentrations of Shh bound to a matrix induce floor plate and motor neurons, and addition of Shh to the medium leads to dose-dependent induction of motor neurons. All inducing activity resides in a highly conserved amino-terminal peptide (M(r) 19K). Moreover, antibodies that specifically recognize this peptide block induction of motor neurons by the notochord. We propose that Shh acts as a morphogen to induce distinct ventral cell types in the vertebrate central nervous system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Binding Sites
  • Central Nervous System / cytology
  • Central Nervous System / embryology*
  • Chick Embryo
  • Embryonic Induction*
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Mice
  • Motor Neurons / cytology
  • Nerve Growth Factors / genetics
  • Nerve Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Nerve Growth Factors / physiology*
  • Notochord / embryology
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Proteins / physiology*
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Tissue Transplantation
  • Trans-Activators*


  • Antibodies
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Trans-Activators