Ligands of the Hedgehog (HH) pathway are paracrine signaling molecules that coordinate tissue development in metazoans. A remarkable feature of HH signaling is the repeated use of cholesterol in steps spanning ligand biogenesis, secretion, dispersal, and reception on target cells. A cholesterol molecule covalently attached to HH ligands is used as a molecular baton by transfer proteins to guide their secretion, spread, and reception. On target cells, a signaling circuit composed of a cholesterol transporter and sensor regulates transmission of HH signals across the plasma membrane to the cytoplasm. The repeated use of cholesterol in signaling supports the view that the HH pathway likely evolved by coopting ancient systems to regulate the abundance or organization of sterol-like lipids in membranes. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Biochemistry, Volume 92 is June 2023. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
Annu Rev Biochem