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Introduction of Research
The most popular model to explain the patterning process is the “morphogen gradient and threshold” theory. Many genetic studies indicate that secreted signal proteins, including Wnt, FGF, BMP, and Hh, function as morphogens. In spite of the accumulation of genetic evidence, however, the mechanism of morphogen transport, as well as the characteristics of morphogen molecules themselves, remain to be elucidated. One of our major goals is to reveal the real image of morphogen molecules, and the molecular mechanism underlying the formation of morphogen gradients, including the secretion and extracellular transport of these morphogens.