Hedgehogs as Negative Regulators of the Cell Cycle


During the development of multicellular animals, cell proliferation must be precisely controlled, as deregulated proliferation can lead to overgrowth and cancer. In addition, proliferation must be tightly integrated with pattern formation and differentiation to generate the required number of cells in the right organs, and at the right time. All major signaling pathways employed during embryogenesis have been implicated in cell cycle regulation, indicating that no single pathway has been dedicated to this task. Also, the precise role of a particular signaling pathway in regulating proliferation is highly dependent on the cellular context, and may have opposite effects on cell-cycle progression in different cells and tissues. The Hedgehog (Hh) family of signaling proteins is known to control both differentiation and proliferation during development. So far, studies addressing the effect of Hh signaling on proliferation have shown it to have a stimulatory effect on cell-cycle progression. Here we review several recent studies indicating that Hh signaling can also have the opposite effect, directing cell-cycle exit in a number of cell types in vertebrate and in invertebrate embryos.

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Hedgehogs as Negative Regulators of the Cell Cycle