The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 63: 631 - 639 (2019)

Vol 63, Issue 11-12

Xenopus laevis FGF16 activates the expression of genes coding for the transcription factors Sp5 and Sp5l

Developmental Expression Pattern | Published: 27 February 2020

Michael Elsy, Abigail Rowbotham, Hannah Lord, Harry V. Isaacs and Mary E. Pownall*

Biology Department, University of York, UK


Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) comprise a family of signalling molecules with essential roles in early embryonic development across animal species. The role of FGFs in mesoderm formation and patterning in Xenopus has been particularly well studied. However, little is known about FGF16 in Xenopus. Using in situ hybridisation, we uncover the expression pattern of FGF16 during early Xenopus laevis development, which has not been previously described. We show that the zygotic expression of FGF16 is activated in the mesoderm of the early gastrula as a ring around the blastopore, with its first accumulation at the dorsal side of the embryo. Later, FGF16 expression is found in the otic vesicle, the branchial arches and the anterior pituitary, as well as in the chordal neural hinge region of the tailbud. In addition, we show that FGF16 can activate the MAPK pathway and expression of sp5 and sp5l. Like FGF16, sp5 is expressed in the otic vesicle and the branchial arches, with all three of these genes being expressed in the tailbud. These data provide evidence that FGF16 is present in the early mesoderm and can activate the expression of developmentally important transcription factors.


mesoderm, secreted growth factor, cell signaling, transcriptional regulation

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