Dendrosomatic Sonic Hedgehog signaling in hippocampal neurons regulates axon elongation

Pamela J. Yao, Ronald S. Petralia, Carolyn Ott, Ya Xian Wang, Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, Mark P. Mattson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The presence of Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) and its signaling components in the neurons of the hippocampus raises a question about what role the Shh signaling pathway may play in these neurons. We show here that activation of the Shh signaling pathway stimulates axon elongation in rat hippocampal neurons. This Shh-induced effect depends on the pathway transducer Smoothened (Smo) and the transcription factor Gli1. The axon itself does not respond directly to Shh; instead, the Shh signal transduction originates from the somatodendritic region of the neurons and occurs in neurons with and without detectable primary cilia. Upon Shh stimulation, Smo localization to dendrites increases significantly. Shh pathway activation results in increased levels of profilin1 (Pfn1), an actin-binding protein. Mutations in Pfn1’s actin-binding sites or reduction of Pfn1 eliminate the Shh-induced axon elongation. These findings indicate that Shh can regulate axon growth, which may be critical for development of hippocampal neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16126-16141
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 9 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Axon
  • Hippocampal neuron
  • Primary cilium
  • Profilin 1
  • Smoothened
  • Sonic Hedgehog

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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