The transmembrane protein Brother of Cdo (Boc) has been implicated in Shh-mediated commissural axon guidance, and can both positively and negatively regulate Hedgehog (Hh) target gene transcription, however, little is known about in vivo requirements for Boc during vertebrate embryogenesis. The zebrafish umleitung (uml(ty54)) mutant was identified by defects in retinotectal axon projections. Here, we show that the uml locus encodes Boc and that Boc function is cell-autonomously required for Hh-mediated neural patterning. Our phenotypic analysis suggests that Boc is required as a positive regulator of Hh signaling in the spinal cord, hypothalamus, pituitary, somites and upper jaw, but that Boc might negatively regulate Hh signals in the lower jaw. This study reveals a role for Boc in ventral CNS cells that receive high levels of Hh and uncovers previously unknown roles for Boc in vertebrate embryogenesis.
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