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Dev Biol. 2013 Sep 1;381(1):121-33. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2013.05.031. Epub 2013 Jun 12.

FGF signalling controls anterior extraembryonic and embryonic fate in the beetle Tribolium.

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University of Rostock, Institute of Biological Sciences, Department of Genetics, Albert-Einstein Str. 3, 18059 Rostock, Germany.


Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signalling plays a key role in early embryonic development and cell migration in vertebrates and in invertebrates. To gain novel insights into FGF signalling in an arthropod, we characterized the fgf1b ortholog in the beetle Tribolium that is not represented in the Drosophila genome. We found that FGF1b dependent signalling organizes the anterior to posterior axis of the early embryo. The loss of Tc-fgf1b function in Tribolium by RNA interference resulted in the reduction of the anteriormost extraembryonic fate, in an anterior shift of embryonic fate and in the loss or malformation of anterior embryonic structures. Without intact extraembryonic membranes the serosa and the amnion, Tc-fgf1b(RNAi) embryos did not undergo morphogenetic movements and remained posteriorly localized throughout embryogenesis. Only weakly affected embryos developed into a cuticle that show dorsally curved bodies with head defects and a dorsal opening. Except for the posterior dorsal amnion, the overall topology of the dorsal-ventral axis seemed unaffected. Moreover, FGF signalling was not required for the onset of mesoderm formation but for fine-tuning this tissue during later development. We also show that in affected embryos the dorsal epidermis was expanded and expressed Tc-dpp at a higher level. We conclude that in the Tribolium blastoderm embryo, FGF1-signalling organizes patterning along the AP-axis and also balances the expression level of Dpp in the dorsal epidermis, a tissue critically involved in dorsal closure.


Anterior posterior axis; Extraembryonic membranes; FGF-signalling; Tribolium

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