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Dev Biol. 2015 Jun 15;402(2):264-75. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2015.04.001. Epub 2015 Apr 9.

The single fgf receptor gene in the beetle Tribolium castaneum codes for two isoforms that integrate FGF8- and Branchless-dependent signals.

Author information

1
University of Rostock, Biological Sciences, Department of Genetics, Albert-Einsteinstr. 3, 18059 Rostock, Germany.
2
University of Rostock, Biological Sciences, Department of Genetics, Albert-Einsteinstr. 3, 18059 Rostock, Germany. Electronic address: reinhard.schroeder@uni-rostock.de.

Abstract

The precise regulation of cell-cell communication by numerous signal-transduction pathways is fundamental for many different processes during embryonic development. One important signalling pathway is the evolutionary conserved fibroblast-growth-factor (FGF)-pathway that controls processes like cell migration, axis specification and mesoderm formation in vertebrate and invertebrate animals. In the model insect Drosophila, the FGF ligand / receptor combinations of FGF8 (Pyramus and Thisbe) / Heartless (Htl) and Branchless (Bnl) / Breathless (Btl) are required for the migration of mesodermal cells and for the formation of the tracheal network respectively with both the receptors functioning independently of each other. However, only a single fgf-receptor gene (Tc-fgfr) has been identified in the genome of the beetle Tribolium. We therefore asked whether both the ligands Fgf8 and Bnl could transduce their signal through a common FGF-receptor in Tribolium. Indeed, we found that the function of the single Tc-fgfr gene is essential for mesoderm differentiation as well as for the formation of the tracheal network during early development. Ligand specific RNAi for Tc-fgf8 and Tc-bnl resulted in two distinct non-overlapping phenotypes of impaired mesoderm differentiation and abnormal formation of the tracheal network in Tc-fgf8- and Tc-bnl(RNAi) embryos respectively. We further show that the single Tc-fgfr gene encodes at least two different receptor isoforms that are generated through alternative splicing. We in addition demonstrate through exon-specific RNAi their distinct tissue-specific functions. Finally, we discuss the structure of the fgf-receptor gene from an evolutionary perspective.

KEYWORDS:

Evolution; Exon-specific RNAi; FGFR; Signalling; Tribolium

PMID:
25864412
DOI:
10.1016/j.ydbio.2015.04.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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