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Genes Dev. 2003 Jan 1;17(1):141-53.

Fgfr1 regulates patterning of the pharyngeal region.

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Institute of Biotechnology, Viikki Biocenter, 00014-University of Helsinki, Finland.


Development of the pharyngeal region depends on the interaction and integration of different cell populations, including surface ectoderm, foregut endoderm, paraxial mesoderm, and neural crest. Mice homozygous for a hypomorphic allele of Fgfr1 have craniofacial defects, some of which appeared to result from a failure in the early development of the second branchial arch. A stream of neural crest cells was found to originate from the rhombomere 4 region and migrate toward the second branchial arch in the mutants. Neural crest cells mostly failed to enter the second arch, however, but accumulated in a region proximal to it. Both rescue of the hypomorphic Fgfr1 allele and inactivation of a conditional Fgfr1 allele specifically in neural crest cells indicated that Fgfr1 regulates the entry of neural crest cells into the second branchial arch non-cell-autonomously. Gene expression in the pharyngeal ectoderm overlying the developing second branchial arch was affected in the hypomorphic Fgfr1 mutants at a stage prior to neural crest entry. Our results indicate that Fgfr1 patterns the pharyngeal region to create a permissive environment for neural crest cell migration.

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