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Development. 1996 Mar;122(3):869-80.

A truncated FGF receptor blocks neural induction by endogenous Xenopus inducers.

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Groupe de Biologie Expérimentale, Différenciation Moléculaire et Cellulaire du Développement, CNRS URA-1135, Université P. et M. Curie, Paris, France.


We have examined the role of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signalling in neural induction. The approach takes advantage of the fact that both noggin and the dominant negative mutant activin receptor (delta1XAR1) directly induce neural tissues in the absence of dorsal mesoderm. A truncated FGF receptor (XFD) is co-expressed with noggin or delta1XAR1 in both whole embryos and isolated animal caps. We demonstrate that inhibition of FGF signalling prevents neural induction by both factors. Furthermore, neural induction by organizers (the dorsal lip of blastopore and Hensen's node) is also blocked by inhibiting FGF signalling in ectoderm. It has been proposed that the specification of anterior neuroectoderm, including the cement gland, occurs in a sequential manner as gastrulation proceeds. We show that the specification of the most anterior neuroectoderm by noggin may occur before gastrulation and does not require FGF signalling, since both the cement gland marker XCG-1 and the anterior neural marker Otx-2 are normally expressed in ectodermal explants co-injected with noggin and XFD RNAs, but the cement gland cells are poorly differentiated. In contrast, the expression of both genes induced by CSKA.noggin, which is expressed after the mid-blastula transition, is strongly inhibited by the presence of XFD. Therefore the noggin-mediated neural induction that takes place at gastrula stages is abolished in the absence of FGF signalling. Since inhibition of FGF signalling blocks the neuralizing effect of different neural inducers that function through independent mechanisms, we propose that FGF receptor-related-signalling is required for the response to inducing signals of ectodermal cells from gastrula.

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