Al Oustah, A., Danesin, C., Khouri-Farah, N., Farreny, M.A., Escalas, N., Cochard, P., Glise, B., and Soula, C. (2014) Dynamics of Sonic hedgehog signaling in the ventral spinal cord are controlled by intrinsic changes in source cells requiring Sulfatase 1. Development (Cambridge, England). 141(6):1392-1403.
In the ventral spinal cord, generation of neuronal and glial cell subtypes is controlled by Sonic hedgehog (Shh). This morphogen
contributes to cell diversity by regulating spatial and temporal sequences of gene expression during development. Here, we
report that establishing Shh source cells is not sufficient to induce the high-threshold response required to specify sequential
generation of ventral interneurons and oligodendroglial cells at the right time and place in zebrafish. Instead, we show that
Shh-producing cells must repeatedly upregulate the secreted enzyme Sulfatase1 (Sulf1) at two critical time points of development
to reach their full inductive capacity. We provide evidence that Sulf1 triggers Shh signaling activity to establish and, later
on, modify the spatial arrangement of gene expression in ventral neural progenitors. We further present arguments in favor
of Sulf1 controlling Shh temporal activity by stimulating production of active forms of Shh from its source. Our work, by
pointing out the key role of Sulf1 in regulating Shh-dependent neural cell diversity, highlights a novel level of regulation,
which involves temporal evolution of Shh source properties.