Dev Biol 2016 Jan 19;409(1):84-94. Epub 2015 Oct 19.
Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105, United States. Electronic address:
During development, the evolutionarily conserved Hedgehog (Hh) morphogen provides instructional cues that influence cell fate, cell affinity and tissue morphogenesis. To do so, the Hh signaling cascade must coordinate its activity with other morphogenetic signals. This can occur through engagement of or response to effectors that do not typically function as core Hh pathway components. Given the ability of small G proteins of the Ras family to impact cell survival, differentiation, growth and adhesion, we wanted to determine whether Hh and Ras signaling might intersect during development. We performed genetic modifier tests in Drosophila to examine the ability of select Ras family members to influence Hh signal output, and identified Rap1 as a positive modulator of Hh pathway activity. Our results suggest that Rap1 is activated to its GTP-bound form in response to Hh ligand, and that the GTPase exchange factor C3G likely contributes to this activation. The Rap1 effector Canoe (Cno) also impacts Hh signal output, suggesting that a C3G-Rap1-Cno axis intersects the Hh pathway during tissue morphogenesis.