ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-050907-11
Vertebrate Smoothened functions at the primary cilium
Corbit, K.C., Aanstad, P., Singla, V., Norman, A.R., Stainier, D.Y., and Reiter, J.F.
The unanticipated involvement of several intraflagellar transport proteins in the mammalian Hedgehog (Hh) pathway has hinted at a functional connection between cilia and Hh signal transduction. Here we show that mammalian Smoothened (Smo), a seven-transmembrane protein essential for Hh signalling, is expressed on the primary cilium. This ciliary expression is regulated by Hh pathway activity; Sonic hedgehog or activating mutations in Smo promote ciliary localization, whereas the Smo antagonist cyclopamine inhibits ciliary localization. The translocation of Smo to primary cilia depends upon a conserved hydrophobic and basic residue sequence homologous to a domain previously shown to be required for the ciliary localization of seven-transmembrane proteins in Caenorhabditis elegans. Mutation of this domain not only prevents ciliary localization but also eliminates Smo activity both in cultured cells and in zebrafish embryos. Thus, Hh-dependent translocation to cilia is essential for Smo activity, suggesting that Smo acts at the primary cilium.