Sonic HedgeHog, also known as sonic hedgehog protein, belongs to the hedgehog family. It cannot be detected in adult tissues while can be found in fetal intestine, liver, lung, and kidney. Sonic HedgeHog is a protein that is vital in guding the early embryo. It has been associated as the major inductive signal in patterning of the ventral neural tube, the anterior-posterior limb axis, and the ventral somites. Sonic HedgeHog intercellular signal is essential for a various patterning events during development: signal produced by the notochord that induces ventral cell fate in the neural tube and somites, and the polarizing signal for patterning of the anterior-posterior axis of the developing limb bud. Sonic HedgeHog binds to the patched receptor, which functions in association with smoothened, to activate the transcription of target genes. In the absence of sonic HedgeHog, patched receptor represses the constitutive signaling activity of smoothened. Sonic HedgeHog also regulates another factor, the gli oncogene. Defects in sonic hedgehog can cause microphthalmia isolated with coloboma type 5, triphalangeal thumb-polysyndactyly syndrome and holoprosencephaly type 3.
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