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Dev Dyn. 2008 May;237(5):1243-54. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.21517.

The role of FGF signaling in the establishment and maintenance of mesodermal gene expression in Xenopus.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Center for Integrative Genomics, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720-3200, USA.


FGF signaling is important for the formation of mesoderm in vertebrates, and when it is perturbed in Xenopus, most trunk and tail mesoderm fails to form. Here we have further dissected the activities of FGF in patterning the embryo by addressing its inductive and maintenance roles. We show that FGF signaling is necessary for the establishment of xbra expression in addition to its well-characterized role in maintaining xbra expression. The role of FGF signaling in organizer formation is not clear in Xenopus. We find that FGF signaling is essential for the initial specification of paraxial mesoderm but not for activation of several pan-mesodermal and most organizer genes; however, early FGF signaling is necessary for the maintenance of organizer gene expression into the neurula stage. Inhibition of FGF signaling prevents VegT activation of specific mesodermal transcripts. These findings illuminate how FGF signaling contributes to the establishment of distinct types of mesoderm.

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