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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Apr 28;95(9):5082-7.

Targeted disruption of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptor 2 suggests a role for FGF signaling in pregastrulation mammalian development.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel 76100, USA.


We disrupted the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptor 2 (FGFR2) gene by introducing a neo cassette into the IIIc ligand binding exon and by deleting a genomic DNA fragment encoding its transmembrane domain and part of its kinase I domain. A recessive embryonic lethal mutation was obtained. Preimplantation development was normal until the blastocyst stage. Homozygous mutant embryos died a few hours after implantation at a random position in the uterine crypt, with collapsed yolk cavity. Mutant blastocysts hatched, adhered, and formed a layer of trophoblast giant cells in vitro, but after prolonged culture, the growth of the inner cell mass stopped, no visceral endoderm formed, and finally the egg cylinder disintegrated. It follows that FGFR2 is required for early postimplantation development between implantation and the formation of the egg cylinder. We suggest that FGFR2 contributes to the outgrowth, differentiation, and maintenance of the inner cell mass and raise the possibility that this activity is mediated by FGF4 signals transmitted by FGFR2. The role of early FGF signaling in pregastrulation development as a possible adaptation to mammalian (amniote) embryogenesis is discussed.

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