Floor plate and motor neuron induction by vhh-1, a vertebrate homolog of hedgehog expressed by the notochord

Cell. 1994 Feb 25;76(4):761-75. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(94)90514-2.


The differentiation of distinct cell types in the ventral neural tube depends on local inductive signals from the notochord. We have isolated a vertebrate homolog of the Drosophila segment polarity gene hedgehog (hh) from zebrafish and rat, termed vhh-1. vhh-1 is expressed in the node, notochord, floor plate, and posterior limb bud mesenchyme. Each of these cell groups has floor plate inducing activity, suggesting that the vhh-1 gene may encode a floor plate-inducing molecule. Widespread expression of rat vhh-1 in frog embryos leads to ectopic floor plate differentiation in the neural tube. In vitro tests for the signaling functions of vhh-1 demonstrate that COS cells expressing the rat vhh-1 gene induce floor plate and motor neuron differentiation in neural plate explants. vhh-1 may, therefore, contribute to the floor plate and motor neuron inducing activities of the notochord.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Chick Embryo
  • DNA Primers / chemistry
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Embryonic Induction*
  • Extremities / embryology
  • Gene Expression
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Motor Neurons / cytology
  • Nervous System / embryology*
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Proteins / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Rats
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Solubility
  • Trans-Activators*
  • Xenopus laevis
  • Zebrafish / genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins


  • DNA Primers
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Shha protein, zebrafish
  • Trans-Activators
  • Zebrafish Proteins
  • hh protein, Drosophila

Associated data

  • GENBANK/L27340
  • GENBANK/L27585