Cdo and Boc encode cell surface Ig/fibronectin superfamily members linked to muscle differentiation. Data here indicate they are also targets and signaling components of the Sonic hedgehog (Shh) pathway. Although Cdo and Boc are generally negatively regulated by Hedgehog (HH) signaling, in the neural tube Cdo is expressed within the Shh-dependent floor plate while Boc expression lies within the dorsal limit of Shh signaling. Loss of Cdo results in a Shh dosage-dependent reduction of the floor plate. In contrast, ectopic expression of Boc or Cdo results in a Shh-dependent, cell autonomous promotion of ventral cell fates and a non-cell-autonomous ventral expansion of dorsal cell identities consistent with Shh sequestration. Cdo and Boc bind Shh through a high-affinity interaction with a specific fibronectin repeat that is essential for activity. We propose a model where Cdo and Boc enhance Shh signaling within its target field.
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