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Structural basis for cholesterol transport-like activity of the Hedgehog receptor Patched

By Yunxiao Zhang, David P Bulkley, Kelsey J Roberts, Yao Xin, Daniel E. Asarnow, Ashutosh Sharma, Benjamin R Myers, Wonhwa Cho, Yifan Cheng, Philip A. Beachy

Posted 20 Jun 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/352443 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.10.026)

Hedgehog protein signals mediate tissue patterning and maintenance via binding to and inactivation of their common receptor Patched, a twelve-transmembrane protein that otherwise would suppress activity of the seven-transmembrane protein, Smoothened. Loss of Patched function, the most common cause of basal cell carcinoma, permits unregulated activation of Smoothened and of the Hedgehog pathway. A cryo-EM structure of the Patched protein reveals striking transmembrane domain similarities to prokaryotic RND transporters. The extracellular domain mediates association of Patched monomers in an unusual dimeric architecture that implies curvature in the associated membrane. A central conduit with cholesterol-like contents courses through the extracellular domain and resembles that used by other RND proteins to transport substrates, suggesting Patched activity in cholesterol transport. Patched expression indeed reduces cholesterol activity in the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane, in a manner antagonized by Hedgehog stimulation and with implications for regulation of Smoothened.

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