Talk:Developmental Signals - Fibroblast Growth Factor

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2020, January 28) Embryology Developmental Signals - Fibroblast Growth Factor. Retrieved from



ERK Activity Dynamics during Zebrafish Embryonic Development

Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Dec 28;20(1). pii: E109. doi: 10.3390/ijms20010109.

Wong KL1, Akiyama R2, Bessho Y3, Matsui T4.

Abstract During vertebrate development, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) is activated by growth factors such as fibroblast growth factor (FGF), and it regulates the formation of tissues/organs including eyes, brains, somites, limbs, and inner ears. However, an experimental system to monitor ERK activity dynamics in the entire body of the vertebrate embryo is lacking. We recently studied ERK activity dynamics in the pre-somitic mesoderm of living zebrafish embryos injected with mRNAs encoding a Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based ERK biosensor. In this study, transgenic zebrafish stably and ubiquitously expressing the ERK biosensor were generated to monitor ERK activity dynamics throughout embryonic development. The system allowed the identification of ERK activation domains in embryos from the late blastula to the late segmentation stage, consistent with immunostaining patterns obtained using anti-phosphorylated ERK antibody. A spatiotemporal map of ERK activity in the entire body during zebrafish embryogenesis was generated, and previously unidentified activation dynamics and ERK domains were identified. The proposed system is the first reported method to monitor ERK activity dynamics during vertebrate embryogenesis, providing insight into the role of ERK activity in normal and abnormal development in living vertebrate embryos.

KEYWORDS: biosensor; mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK); signal activity; vertebrate development PMID: 30597912 DOI: 10.3390/ijms20010109

Role of FGF signalling in neural crest cell migration during early chick embryo development

Zygote. 2018 Dec 6:1-8. doi: 10.1017/S096719941800045X. [Epub ahead of print]

Zhang XT1, Wang G1, Li Y1, Chuai M2, Lee KKH3, Yang X1. Author information Abstract SummaryFibroblast growth factor (FGF) signalling acts as one of modulators that control neural crest cell (NCC) migration, but how this is achieved is still unclear. In this study, we investigated the effects of FGF signalling on NCC migration by blocking this process. Constructs that were capable of inducing Sprouty2 (Spry2) or dominant-negative FGFR1 (Dn-FGFR1) expression were transfected into the cells making up the neural tubes. Our results revealed that blocking FGF signalling at stage HH10 (neurulation stage) could enhance NCC migration at both the cranial and trunk levels in the developing embryos. It was established that FGF-mediated NCC migration was not due to altering the expression of N-cadherin in the neural tube. Instead, we determined that cyclin D1 was overexpressed in the cranial and trunk levels when Sprouty2 was upregulated in the dorsal neural tube. These results imply that the cell cycle was a target of FGF signalling through which it regulates NCC migration at the neurulation stage. KEYWORDS: Cell cycle; EMT; FGF signalling; Neural crest cells; Sprouty2 PMID: 30520400 DOI: 10.1017/S096719941800045X

BMP and FGF signaling interact to pattern mesoderm by controlling basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor activity

Elife. 2018 Jun 7;7. pii: e31018. doi: 10.7554/eLife.31018. [Epub ahead of print]

Row RH1, Pegg A2, Kinney B1, Farr GH3, Maves L3, Lowell S2, Wilson V4, Martin BL1.


The mesodermal germ layer is patterned into mediolateral subtypes by signaling factors including BMP and FGF. How these pathways are integrated to induce specific mediolateral cell fates is not well understood. We used mesoderm derived from post-gastrulation neuromesodermal progenitors (NMPs), which undergo a binary mediolateral patterning decision, as a simplified model to understand how FGF acts together with BMP to impart mediolateral fate. Using zebrafish and mouse NMPs, we identify an evolutionarily conserved mechanism of BMP and FGF mediated mediolateral mesodermal patterning that occurs through modulation of basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor activity. BMP imparts lateral fate through induction of Id helix loop helix (HLH) proteins, which antagonize bHLH transcription factors, induced by FGF signaling, that specify medial fate. We extend our analysis of zebrafish development to show that bHLH activity is responsible for the mediolateral patterning of the entire mesodermal germ layer. KEYWORDS: developmental biology; mouse; stem cells; zebrafish PMID: 29877796 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.31018


Biol Open. 2017 Dec 15;6(12):1933-1942. doi: 10.1242/bio.028605. FGF8 morphogen gradients are differentially regulated by heparan sulphotransferases Hs2st and Hs6st1 in the developing brain. Chan WK1, Price DJ1, Pratt T2. Author information Abstract Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) morphogen signalling through the evolutionarily ancient extracellular signalling-regulated kinase/mitogen activated protein kinase (ERK/MAPK) pathway recurs in many neural and non-neural developmental contexts, and understanding the mechanisms that regulate FGF/ERK function are correspondingly important. The glycosaminoglycan heparan sulphate (HS) binds to FGFs and exists in an enormous number of differentially sulphated forms produced by the action of HS modifying enzymes, and so has the potential to present an extremely large amount of information in FGF/ERK signalling. Although there have been many studies demonstrating that HS is an important regulator of FGF function, experimental evidence on the role of the different HS modifying enzymes on FGF gradient formation has been lacking until now. We challenged ex vivo developing mouse neural tissue, in which HS had either been enzymatically removed by heparanase treatment or lacking either the HS modifying enzymes Hs2st (Hs2st-/- tissue) or Hs6st1 (Hs6st1-/- tissue), with exogenous Fgf8 to gain insight on how HS and the function of these two HS modifying enzymes impacts on Fgf8 gradient formation from an exogenously supplied source of Fgf8 protein. We discover that two different HS modifying enzymes, Hs2st and Hs6st1, indeed differentially modulate the properties of emerging Fgf8 protein concentration gradients and the Erk signalling output in response to Fgf8 in living tissue in ex vivo cultures. Both Hs2st and Hs6st1 are required for stable Fgf8 gradients to form as rapidly as they do in wild-type tissue while only Hs6st1 has a significant effect on suppressing the levels of Fgf8 protein in the gradient compared to wild type. Next we show that Hs2st and Hs6st1 act to antagonise and agonise the Erk signalling in response to Fgf8 protein, respectively, in ex vivo cultures of living tissue. Examination of endogenous Fgf8 protein and Erk signalling outputs in Hs2st-/- and Hs6st1-/- embryos suggests that our ex vivo findings have physiological relevance in vivo Our discovery identifies a new class of mechanism to tune Fgf8 function by regulated expression of Hs2st and Hs6st1 that is likely to have broader application to the >200 other signalling proteins that interact with HS and their function in neural development and disease. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd. KEYWORDS: Erk; Fibroblast growth factors; Heparan sulphotransferase; Hs2st; Hs6st1; Mapk; Mouse; Neural development; Telencephalon PMID: 29158323 PMCID: PMC5769653 DOI: 10.1242/bio.028605


Different Concentrations of FGF Ligands, FGF2 or FGF8 Determine Distinct States of WNT-Induced Presomitic Mesoderm

Stem Cells. 2016 Apr 1. doi: 10.1002/stem.2371. [Epub ahead of print]

Sudheer S1, Liu J1, Marks M1, Koch F1, Anurin A1,2, Scholze M1, Dorothea Senft A1, Wittler L1, Macura K1, Grote P1, Herrmann BG1.


Presomitic mesoderm (PSM; also called paraxial mesoderm) cells are the precursors of the somites, which flank both sides of the neural tube and give rise to the musculo-skeletal system shaping the vertebrate body. WNT and FGF signaling control the formation of both the PSM and the somites, and show a graded distribution with highest levels in the posterior PSM. We have employed reporters for the mesoderm/PSM control genes T, Tbx6 and Msgn1 to investigate the differentiation of mouse ESCs from the naïve state via EpiSCs to PSM cells. Here we show that the activation of WNT signaling by CHIR99021 (CH) in combination with FGF ligand induces embryo-like PSM at high efficiency. By varying the FGF ligand concentration, the state of PSM cells formed can be altered. High FGF concentration supports posterior PSM formation, whereas low FGF generates anterior/differentiating PSM, in line with in vivo data. Furthermore, the level of Msgn1 expression depends on the FGF ligand concentration. We also show that Activin/Nodal signaling inhibits CH-mediated PSM induction in EpiSCs, without affecting T-expression. Inversely, Activin/Nodal inhibition enhances PSM induction by WNT/high FGF signaling. The ability to generate PSM cells of either posterior or anterior PSM identity with high efficiency in vitro will promote the investigation of the gene regulatory networks controlling the formation of nascent PSM cells and their switch to differentiating/somitic paraxial mesoderm. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. © 2016 AlphaMed Press. KEYWORDS: Brachyury; CHIR99021; Differentiation; Embryonic stem cells; EpiSCs; FGF; Mesogenin; Paraxial mesoderm; TBX6; WNT

PMID 27038343


Tissue-specific roles of Fgfr2 in development of the external genitalia

Development. 2015 Jun 15;142(12):2203-12. doi: 10.1242/dev.119891.

Gredler ML1, Seifert AW1, Cohn MJ2.


Congenital anomalies frequently occur in organs that undergo tubulogenesis. Hypospadias is a urethral tube defect defined by mislocalized, oversized, or multiple openings of the penile urethra. Deletion of Fgfr2 or its ligand Fgf10 results in severe hypospadias in mice, in which the entire urethral plate is open along the ventral side of the penis. In the genital tubercle, the embryonic precursor of the penis and clitoris, Fgfr2 is expressed in two epithelial populations: the endodermally derived urethral epithelium and the ectodermally derived surface epithelium. Here, we investigate the tissue-specific roles of Fgfr2 in external genital development by generating conditional deletions of Fgfr2 in each of these cell types. Conditional deletion of Fgfr2 results in two distinct phenotypes: endodermal Fgfr2 deletion causes mild hypospadias and inhibits maturation of a complex urethral epithelium, whereas loss of ectodermal Fgfr2 results in severe hypospadias and absence of the ventral prepuce. Although these cell type-specific mutants exhibit distinctive genital anomalies, cellular analysis reveals that Fgfr2 regulates epithelial maturation and cell cycle progression in the urethral endoderm and in the surface ectoderm. The unexpected finding that ectodermal deletion of Fgfr2 results in the most severe hypospadias highlights a major role for Fgfr2 in the developing genital surface epithelium, where epithelial maturation is required for maintenance of a closed urethral tube. These results demonstrate that urethral tubulogenesis, prepuce morphogenesis, and sexually dimorphic patterning of the lower urethra are controlled by discrete regions of Fgfr2 activity. © 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd. KEYWORDS: Fgf; Genitalia; Mouse; Sexual differentiation; Tubulogenesis; Urethra

PMID 26081573

Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor 2 (FGFR2) Is Required for Corneal Epithelial Cell Proliferation and Differentiation during Embryonic Development

Zhang J, Upadhya D, Lu L, Reneker LW (2015)

Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) play important roles in many aspects of embryonic development. During eye development, the lens and corneal epithelium are derived from the same surface ectodermal tissue. FGF receptor (FGFR)-signaling is essential for lens cell differentiation and survival, but its role in corneal development has not been fully investigated. In this study, we examined the corneal defects in Fgfr2 conditional knockout mice in which Cre expression is activated at lens induction stage by Pax6 P0 promoter. The cornea in LeCre, Fgfr2loxP/loxP mice (referred as Fgfr2CKO) was analyzed to assess changes in cell proliferation, differentiation and survival. We found that Fgfr2CKO cornea was much thinner in epithelial and stromal layer when compared to WT cornea. At embryonic day 12.5–13.5 (E12.5–13.5) shortly after the lens vesicle detaches from the overlying surface ectoderm, cell proliferation (judged by labeling indices of Ki-67, BrdU and phospho-histone H3) was significantly reduced in corneal epithelium in Fgfr2CKO mice. At later stage, cell differentiation markers for corneal epithelium and underlying stromal mesenchyme, keratin-12 and keratocan respectively, were not expressed in Fgfr2CKO cornea. Furthermore, Pax6, a transcription factor essential for eye development, was not present in the Fgfr2CKO mutant corneal epithelial at E16.5 but was expressed normally at E12.5, suggesting that FGFR2-signaling is required for maintaining Pax6 expression in this tissue. Interestingly, the role of FGFR2 in corneal epithelial development is independent of ERK1/2-signaling. In contrast to the lens, FGFR2 is not required for cell survival in cornea. This study demonstrates for the first time that FGFR2 plays an essential role in controlling cell proliferation and differentiation, and maintaining Pax6 levels in corneal epithelium via ERK-independent pathways during embryonic development.

PLoS ONE 10(1): e0117089. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0117089


Prolonged FGF signaling is necessary for lung and liver induction in Xenopus

BMC Dev Biol. 2012 Sep 18;12:27. doi: 10.1186/1471-213X-12-27.

Shifley ET, Kenny AP, Rankin SA, Zorn AM. Source Perinatal Institute, Divisions of Developmental Biology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, 45229, USA. Abstract ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: FGF signaling plays numerous roles during organogenesis of the embryonic gut tube. Mouse explant studies suggest that different thresholds of FGF signaling from the cardiogenic mesoderm induce lung, liver, and pancreas lineages from the ventral foregut progenitor cells. The mechanisms that regulate FGF dose in vivo are unknown. Here we use Xenopus embryos to examine the hypothesis that a prolonged duration of FGF signaling from the mesoderm is required to induce foregut organs. RESULTS: We show that both mesoderm and FGF signaling are required for liver and lung development in Xenopus; formally demonstrating that this important step in organ induction is conserved with other vertebrate species. Prolonged contact with the mesoderm and persistent FGF signaling through both MEK and PI3K over an extended period of time are required for liver and lung specification. Inhibition of FGF signaling results in reduced liver and lung development, with a modest expansion of the pancreas/duodenum progenitor domain. Hyper-activation of FGF signaling has the opposite effect expanding liver and lung gene expression and repressing pancreatic markers. We show that FGF signaling is cell autonomously required in the endoderm and that a dominant negative FGF receptor decreases the ability of ventral foregut progenitor cells to contribute to the lung and liver buds. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that the liver and lungs are specified at progressively later times in development requiring mesoderm contact for different lengths of time. Our data suggest that this is achieved at least in part through prolonged FGF signaling. In addition to providing a foundation for further mechanistic studies on foregut organogenesis using the experimental advantages of the Xenopus system, these data have implications for the directed differentiation of stem cells into foregut lineages.

PMID 22988910

Notch prosensory effects in the Mammalian cochlea are partially mediated by Fgf20

J Neurosci. 2012 Sep 12;32(37):12876-84. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2250-12.2012.

Munnamalai V, Hayashi T, Bermingham-McDonogh O. Source Department of Biological Structure, Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


Hearing loss is becoming an increasingly prevalent problem affecting more than 250 million people worldwide. During development, fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) are required for inner ear development as well as hair cell formation in the mammalian cochlea and thus make attractive therapeutic candidates for the regeneration of sensory cells. Previous findings showed that Fgfr1 conditional knock out mice exhibited hair cell and support cell formation defects. Immunoblocking with Fgf20 antibody in vitro produced a similar phenotype. While hair cell differentiation in mice starts at embryonic day (E)14.5, beginning with the inner hair cells, Fgf20 expression precedes hair cell differentiation at E13.5 in the cochlea. This suggests a potential role for Fgf20 in priming the sensory epithelium for hair cell formation. Treatment of explants with a gamma-secretase inhibitor, DAPT, decreased Fgf20 mRNA, suggesting that Notch is upstream of Fgf20. Notch signaling also plays an early role in prosensory formation during cochlear development. In this report we show that during development, Notch-mediated regulation of prosensory formation in the cochlea occurs via Fgf20. Addition of exogenous FGF20 compensated for the block in Notch signaling and rescued Sox2, a prosensory marker, and Gfi1, an early hair cell marker in explant cultures. We hypothesized that Fgf20 plays a role in specification, amplification, or maintenance of Sox2 expression in prosensory progenitors of the developing mammalian cochlea.

PMID 22973011



Hormone-like (endocrine) Fgfs: their evolutionary history and roles in development, metabolism, and disease

Cell Tissue Res. 2010 Oct;342(1):1-11. Epub 2010 Aug 24.

Itoh N. Source Department of Genetic Biochemistry, Kyoto University Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyoto, Japan.


Fibroblast growth factors (Fgfs) are proteins with diverse functions in development, repair, and metabolism. The human Fgf gene family with 22 members can be classified into three groups, canonical, intracellular, and hormone-like Fgf genes. In contrast to canonical and intracellular Fgfs identified in invertebrates and vertebrates, hormone-like Fgfs, Fgf15/19, Fgf21, and Fgf23, are vertebrate-specific. The ancestral gene of hormone-like Fgfs was generated from the ancestral gene of canonical Fgfs by gene duplication early in vertebrate evolution. Later, Fgf15/19, Fgf21, and Fgf23 were generated from the ancestral gene by genome duplication events. Canonical Fgfs act as autocrine/paracrine factors in an Fgf receptor (Fgfr)-dependent manner. In contrast, hormone-like Fgfs act as endocrine factors in an Fgfr-dependent manner. Canonical Fgfs have a heparin-binding site necessary for the stable binding of Fgfrs and local signaling. In contrast, hormone-like Fgfs acquired endocrine functions by reducing their heparin-binding affinity during their evolution. Fgf15/19 and Fgf23 require βKlotho and αKlotho as cofactors, respectively. However, Fgf21 might physiologically require neither. Hormone-like Fgfs play roles in metabolism at postnatal stages, although they also play roles in development at embryonic stages. Fgf15/19 regulates bile acid metabolism in the liver. Fgf21 regulates lipid metabolism in the white adipose tissue. Fgf23 regulates serum phosphate and active vitamin D levels. Fgf23 signaling disorders caused by hereditary diseases or tumors result in metabolic disorders. In addition, serum Fgf19 or Fgf21 levels are significantly increased by metabolic disorders. Hormone-like Fgfs are newly emerging and quite unique in their evolution and function.

PMID 20730630

A requirement for FGF signalling in the formation of primitive streak-like intermediates from primitive ectoderm in culture

PLoS One. 2010 Sep 3;5(9):e12555.

Zheng Z, de Iongh RU, Rathjen PD, Rathjen J.

Department of Zoology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia. Abstract BACKGROUND: Embryonic stem (ES) cells hold considerable promise as a source of cells with therapeutic potential, including cells that can be used for drug screening and in cell replacement therapies. Differentiation of ES cells into the somatic lineages is a regulated process; before the promise of these cells can be realised robust and rational methods for directing differentiation into normal, functional and safe cells need to be developed. Previous in vivo studies have implicated fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signalling in lineage specification from pluripotent cells. Although FGF signalling has been suggested as essential for specification of mesoderm and endoderm in vivo and in culture, the exact role of this pathway remains unclear.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using a culture model based on early primitive ectoderm-like (EPL) cells we have investigated the role of FGF signalling in the specification of mesoderm. We were unable to demonstrate any mesoderm inductive capability associated with FGF1, 4 or 8 signalling, even when the factors were present at high concentrations, nor any enhancement in mesoderm formation induced by exogenous BMP4. Furthermore, there was no evidence of alteration of mesoderm sub-type formed with addition of FGF1, 4 or 8. Inhibition of endogenous FGF signalling, however, prevented mesoderm and favoured neural differentiation, suggesting FGF signalling was required but not sufficient for the differentiation of primitive ectoderm into primitive streak-like intermediates. The maintenance of ES cell/early epiblast pluripotent marker expression was also observed in cultures when FGF signalling was inhibited.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: FGF signalling has been shown to be required for the differentiation of primitive ectoderm to neurectoderm. This, coupled with our observations, suggest FGF signalling is required for differentiation of the primitive ectoderm into the germ lineages at gastrulation.

PMID 20838439

Common primary fibroblastic growth factor receptor-related craniosynostosis syndromes: A pictorial review

J Pediatr Neurosci. 2010 Jan;5(1):72-5. doi: 10.4103/1817-1745.66685.

Singh RK, Verma JS, Srivastava AK, Jaiswal AK, Behari S. Source Department of Neurosurgery, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, India.


Mutations in different types of fibroblastic growth factor receptors (FGFRs) have been associated with a variety of phenotype abnormalities, the common ones being Apert, Crouzon and Pfeiffer syndromes. In this study, we present two representative cases having the Apert and Pfeiffer syndromes, respectively, and discuss their clinical presentation, sequel and surgical implications.

PMID 21042516


Involvement of FGF-8 in initiation, outgrowth and patterning of the vertebrate limb

Development. 1996 Jun;122(6):1737-50.

Vogel A1, Rodriguez C, Izpisúa-Belmonte JC.


Fibroblast Growth Factors (FGFs) are signaling molecules that are important in patterning and growth control during vertebrate limb development. Beads soaked in FGF-1, FGF-2 and FGF-4 are able to induce additional limbs when applied to the flank of young chick embryos (Cohn, M.J., Izpisua-Belmonte, J-C., Abud, H., Heath, J. K., Tickle, C. (1995) Cell 80, 739-746). However, biochemical and expression studies suggest that none of these FGFs is the endogenous signal that initiates limb development. During chick limb development, Fgf-8 transcripts are detected in the intermediate mesoderm and subsequently in the prelimb field ectoderm prior to the formation of the apical ectodermal ridge, structures required for limb initiation and outgrowth, respectively. Later on, Fgf-8 expression is restricted to the ridge cells and expression disappears when the ridge regresses. Application of FGF-8 protein to the flank induces the development of additional limbs. Moreover, we show that FGF-8 can replace the apical ectodermal ridge to maintain Shh expression and outgrowth and patterning of the developing chick limb. Furthermore, continuous and widespread misexpression of FGF-8 causes limb truncations and skeletal alterations with phocomelic or achondroplasia phenotype. Thus, FGF-8 appears to be a key signal involved in initiation, outgrowth and patterning of the developing vertebrate limb.

PMID 8674413