Sonic Hedgehog is a member of a small group of secreted proteins that are essential for development in both vertebrates and invertebrates. This cytokine binds to the patched (PTC) receptor, which functions in association with smoothened (SMO), to activate the transcription of target genes. Three mammalian hedgehog genes (sonic, desert, Indian) share about 60% homology. Mouse Sonic Hedgehog is 99% homologous to the human gene. Cysteine at position 25 has been substituted with Ile. Mouse SHH is a non-glycosylated polypeptide consisting of 176 amino acids with a MW of 19.8 kDa.
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