Hedgehog, an essential protein for the development of many vertebrate and invertebrate organs, signals at both short and long distances to control growth and patterning. The mechanism by which it moves between source and target cells is not known, but characterization of the covalent modification of its N terminus with palmitate and of its C terminus with cholesterol has led to the suggestion that the lipophilic properties of the modified protein serve to regulate movement after its secretion into the extracellular space. Another interpretation and model is that the C-terminal cholesterol acts to target Hedgehog to an intracellular trafficking pathway that prepares Hedgehog for release in an encapsulated form.
Full article available 22 November 2011, Vol. 4, Issue 200, pe 44