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Development. 2005 Sep;132(17):3859-71. Epub 2005 Jul 27.

Inactivation of FGF8 in early mesoderm reveals an essential role in kidney development.

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Laboratory of Comparative Carcinogenesis, National Cancer Institute, NCI-Frederick, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.


To bypass the essential gastrulation function of Fgf8 and study its role in lineages of the primitive streak, we have used a new mouse line, T-Cre, to generate mouse embryos with pan-mesodermal loss of Fgf8 expression. Surprisingly, despite previous models in which Fgf8 has been assigned a pivotal role in segmentation/somite differentiation, Fgf8 is not required for these processes. However, mutant neonates display severe renal hypoplasia with deficient nephron formation. In mutant kidneys, aberrant cell death occurs within the metanephric mesenchyme (MM), particularly in the cortical nephrogenic zone, which provides the progenitors for recurring rounds of nephron formation. Prior to mutant morphological changes, Wnt4 and Lim1 expression, which is essential for nephrogenesis, is absent in MM. Furthermore, comparative analysis of Wnt4-null homozygotes reveals concomitant downregulation of Lim1 and diminished tubule formation. Our data support a model whereby FGF8 and WNT4 function in concert to induce the expression of Lim1 for MM survival and tubulogenesis.

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