Cell-cell communication through evolutionarily conserved signaling pathways governs embryonic development and adult tissue homeostasis. Deregulation of these signaling pathways has been implicated in a wide range of human diseases including cancer. One such pathway is the Hedgehog (Hh) pathway, which was originally discovered in Drosophila and later found to play a fundamental role in human development and diseases. Abnormal Hh pathway activation is a major driver of basal cell carcinomas (BCC) and medulloblastoma. Hh exerts it biological influence through a largely conserved signal transduction pathway from the activation of the GPCR family transmembrane protein Smoothened (Smo) to the conversion of latent Zn-finger transcription factors Gli/Ci proteins from their repressor (GliR/CiR) to activator (GliA/CiA) forms. Studies from model organisms and human patients have provided deep insight into the Hh signal transduction mechanisms, revealed roles of Hh signaling in a wide range of human cancers, and suggested multiple strategies for targeting this pathway in cancer treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research