The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 45: 877 - 885 (2001)

Vol 45, Issue 8

FGF signaling is essential for the early events in the development of the chick nervous system and mesoderm

Published: 1 December 2001

S Khot and S Ghaskadbi

Division of Animal Sciences, Agharkar Research Institute, Pune, India.


Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) belongs to a family of polypeptides with diverse biological functions. In the present study we have assessed the role of FGF signaling in the development of nervous system and mesodermal tissues in chick embryo. Treatment of in vitro cultured embryos with exogenous, human recombinant FGF led to abnormalities in neural induction and development, notochord formation and somitogenesis as studied by gross morphology and histology. Overall growth and development was also adversely affected as seen from the measurement of body axis length. Further, treatment of embryos with FGF resulted in differential modulation of expression of two genes important in normal development as studied by whole mount in situ hybridization using DIG-labeled riboprobes. The expression of Brachyury, which is necessary for mesoderm formation, was down-regulated in FGF-treated embryos. The expression of noggin, the product which participates in the patterning of the chick neural tube was, on the other hand, up-regulated within 2 h. We also studied development of neural and mesodermal tissues in conditions where FGF signaling was defective. This was achieved by culturing the embryos in the presence of suramin. In the presence of low doses of suramin (100-150 nmole/culture), abnormalities were detected mainly in the mesodermal structures while at higher doses (200-400 nmole/culture), the nervous system too was found to be abnormal in a large proportion of embryos. Treatment of chick embryos with suramin (200 nmole/culture) also modulated the expression of Brachyuryand noggin within a 2 h period. The results showthat FGF signaling plays an important role in the molecular events leading to the development of nervous system and mesodermal tissues in the chick embryo.

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