Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The Hedgehog (HH) signalling pathway is a cell-cell communication system that controls the patterning of multiple tissues during embryogenesis in metazoans. In adults, HH signals regulate tissue stem cells and regenerative responses. Abnormal signalling can cause birth defects and cancer. The HH signal is received on target cells by Patched (PTCH1), the receptor for HH ligands, and then transmitted across the plasma membrane by Smoothened (SMO). Recent structural and biochemical studies have pointed to a sterol lipid, likely cholesterol itself, as the elusive second messenger that communicates the HH signal between PTCH1 and SMO, thus linking ligand reception to transmembrane signalling.

Original publication




Journal article


Current opinion in structural biology

Publication Date





204 - 214


Division of Structural Biology, Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.


Spine, Animals, Humans, Cholesterol, Signal Transduction, Hedgehog Proteins, Patched Receptors, Smoothened Receptor