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Kif7 promotes hedgehog signaling in growth plate chondrocytes by restricting the inhibitory function of Sufu

Development, 1 September 2011
Vol. 138, Issue 17, p. 3791-3801
DOI: 10.1242/dev.069492

Kif7 promotes hedgehog signaling in growth plate chondrocytes by restricting the inhibitory function of Sufu

  1. Shu-Hsuan C. Hsu1,2,
  2. Xiaoyun Zhang1,
  3. Chunying Yu1,
  4. Zhu Juan Li1,4,
  5. Jay S. Wunder3,
  6. Chi-Chung Hui1,4 and
  7. Benjamin A. Alman1,2,5,*
  1. 1 Program in Developmental & Stem Cell Biology, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  2. 2 Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  3. 3 Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute and Department of Surgery, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  4. 4 Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  5. 5 Division of Orthopaedic Surgery and Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  1. * Author for correspondence (benjamin.alman{at}


Proper regulation of Indian hedgehog (Ihh) signaling is vital for chondrocyte proliferation and differentiation in the growth plate. Its dysregulation causes skeletal dysplasia, osteoarthritis or cartilaginous neoplasia. Here, we show that Suppressor of fused (Sufu) and Kif7 are essential regulators of Ihh signaling. While Sufu acts as a negative regulator of Gli transcription factors, Kif7 functions both positively and negatively in chondrocytes. Kif7 plays a role in the turnover of Sufu and the exclusion of Sufu-Gli complexes from the primary cilium. Importantly, halving the dose of Sufu restores normal hedgehog pathway activity and chondrocyte development in Kif7-null mice, demonstrating that the positive role of Kif7 is to restrict the inhibitory activity of Sufu. Furthermore, Kif7 also inhibits Gli transcriptional activity in the chondrocytes when Sufu function is absent. Therefore, Kif7 regulates the activity of Gli transcription factors through both Sufu-dependent and -independent mechanisms.

  • Chondrogenesis
  • Indian hedgehog
  • Gli transcription factors
  • Mouse
  • Accepted June 28, 2011.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike License (, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided that the original work is properly cited and all further distributions of the work or adaptation are subject to the same Creative Commons License terms.


S. C. Hsu, X. Zhang, C. Yu, Z. J. Li, J. S. Wunder, C.-C. Hui, and B. A. Alman, Kif7 promotes hedgehog signaling in growth plate chondrocytes by restricting the inhibitory function of Sufu. Development 138, 3791-3801 (2011).

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