hedgehog is a segment polarity gene necessary to maintain the proper organization of each segment of the Drosophila embryo. We have identified the physical location of a number of rearrangement breakpoints associated with hedgehog mutations. The corresponding hh RNA is expressed in a series of segmental stripes starting at cellular blastoderm in the posterior portion of each segment. This RNA is localized predominantly within nuclei until stage 10, when the localization becomes primarily cytoplasmic. Expression of hh RNA in the posterior compartment is independent of most other segment polarity genes, including en, until the late extended germ-band stage (stage 11). Sequence analysis of the hedgehog locus suggests the protein product is a transmembrane protein, which may, therefore, be directly involved in cell-cell communication.

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