Neural tube development depends on notochord-derived sonic hedgehog released into the sclerotome

Sonic hedgehog (Shh), produced in the notochord and floor plate, is necessary for both neural and mesodermal development. To reach the myotome, Shh has to traverse the sclerotome and a reduction of sclerotomal Shh affects myotome differentiation. By investigating loss and gain of Shh function, and floor-plate deletions, we report that sclerotomal Shh is also necessary for neural tube development. Reducing the amount of Shh in the sclerotome using a membrane-tethered hedgehog-interacting protein or Patched1, but not dominant active Patched, decreased the number of Olig2+ motoneuron progenitors and Hb9+ motoneurons without a significant effect on cell survival or proliferation. These effects were a specific and direct consequence of Shh reduction in the mesoderm. In addition, grafting notochords in a basal but not apical location, vis-à-vis the tube, profoundly affected motoneuron development, suggesting that initial ligand presentation occurs at the basal side of epithelia corresponding to the sclerotome-neural tube interface. Collectively, our results reveal that the sclerotome is a potential site of a Shh gradient that coordinates the development of mesodermal and neural progenitors.

Authors: Kahane N, Kalcheim C.
Year of publication: 2020
Journal: Development 147(10):dev183996

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