Hedgehog signaling is required for many aspects of development in vertebrates and invertebrates. Misregulation of the Hedgehog pathway causes developmental abnormalities and has been implicated in certain types of cancer. Largescale genetic screens in zebrafish have identified a group of mutations, termed you-class mutations, that share common defects in somite shape and in most cases disrupt Hedgehog signaling. These mutant embryos exhibit U-shaped somites characteristic of defects in slow muscle development. In addition, Hedgehog pathway mutations disrupt spinal cord patterning. We report the positional cloning of you, one of the original you-class mutations, and show that it is required for Hedgehog signaling in the development of slow muscle and in the specification of ventral fates in the spinal cord. The you gene encodes a novel protein with conserved EGF and CUB domains and a secretory pathway signal sequence. Epistasis experiments support an extracellular role for You upstream of the Hedgehog response mechanism. Analysis of chimeras indicates that you mutant cells can appropriately respond to Hedgehog signaling in a wild-type environment. Additional chimera analysis indicates that wild-type you gene function is not required in axial Hedgehog-producing cells, suggesting that You is essential for transport or stability of Hedgehog signals in the extracellular environment. Our positional cloning and functional studies demonstrate that You is a novel extracellular component of the Hedgehog pathway in vertebrates.
Woods, Ian and Talbot, William S., "The you Gene Encodes an EGF-CUB Protein Essential for Hedgehog Signaling in Zebrafish" (2005). Biology Faculty Publications and Presentations. Paper 9.