Sonic hedgehog promotes autophagy in hippocampal neurons

Ronald S. Petralia, Catherine M. Schwartz, Ya Xian Wang, Elisa M. Kawamoto, Mark P. Mattson, Pamela J. Yao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling pathway is well known in patterning of the neural tube during embryonic development, but its emerging role in differentiated neurons is less understood. Here we report that Shh enhances autophagy in cultured hippocampal neurons. Microarray analysis reveals the upregulation of multiple autophagy-related genes in neurons in response to Shh application. Through analysis of the autophagy-marker LC3 by immunoblot analysis and immunocytochemistry, we confirm activation of the autophagy pathway in Shh-exposed neurons. Using electron microscopy, we find autophagosomes and associated structures with a wide range of morphologies in synaptic terminals of Shh-exposed neurons. Moreover, we show that Shh-triggered autophagy depends on class III Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase complexes (PtdIns3K). These results identify a link between Shh and autophagy pathways and, importantly, provide a lead for further understanding the physiology of Shh signaling activity in neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-504
Number of pages6
JournalBiology Open
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 15 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Autophagy
  • Hippocampal neurons
  • Sonic hedgehog
  • Synapses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Sonic hedgehog promotes autophagy in hippocampal neurons'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this