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Cell. 2001 Jul 27;106(2):219-32.

FGF signaling controls somite boundary position and regulates segmentation clock control of spatiotemporal Hox gene activation.

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Laboratoire de génétique et de physiologie du développement (LGPD), Developmental Biology Institute of Marseille (IBDM), CNRS-INSERM-Université de la méditerranée-AP de Marseille, Campus de Luminy, Case 907, 13288 Marseille Cedex 09, France.


Vertebrate segmentation requires a molecular oscillator, the segmentation clock, acting in presomitic mesoderm (PSM) cells to set the pace at which segmental boundaries are laid down. However, the signals that position each boundary remain unclear. Here, we report that FGF8 which is expressed in the posterior PSM, generates a moving wavefront at which level both segment boundary position and axial identity become determined. Furthermore, by manipulating boundary position in the chick embryo, we show that Hox gene expression is maintained in the appropriately numbered somite rather than at an absolute axial position. These results implicate FGF8 in ensuring tight coordination of the segmentation process and spatiotemporal Hox gene activation.

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