Sonic Hedgehog Control of Size and Shape in Midbrain Pattern Formation

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Science  16 Mar 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5511, pp. 2147-2150
DOI: 10.1126/science.1058624

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Little is known about how patterns of cell types are organized to form brain structures of appropriate size and shape. To study this process, we employed in vivo electroporation during midbrain development to create ectopic sources of Sonic Hedgehog, a signaling molecule previously shown to specify different neuronal cell types in a concentration-dependent manner in vitro. We provide direct evidence that a Sonic Hedgehog source can control pattern at a distance in brain development and demonstrate that the size, shape, and orientation of the cell populations produced depend on the geometry of the morphogen source. Thus, a single regulatory molecule can coordinate tissue size and shape with cell-type identity in brain development.

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