Longing for Ligand: Hedgehog, Patched, and Cell Death

Science  08 Aug 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5634, pp. 774-776
DOI: 10.1126/science.1088625

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The hedgehog signaling pathway controls crucial events during development. In a Perspective, Guerrero and Ruiz i Altaba discuss new work ( Thibert et al.) that identifies the Ptc1 receptor for Sonic hedgehog as a crucial modulator of programmed cell death during development of the chick neural tube. Ptc1 joins a cadre of other receptors, called ligand dependence receptors, that induce the programmed cell death of cells bearing them if they remain unoccupied by ligand.