FGF4 regulates blood and muscle specification in Xenopus laevis

H.V. Isaacs, A.E. Deconinck, M.E. Pownall

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Background information. FGF (fibroblast growth factor) signalling is known to be required for many aspects of mesoderm formation and patterning during Xenopus development and has been implicated in regulating genes required for the specification of both blood and skeletal muscle lineages. Results. In the present study, we have specifically knocked down the expression of FGF4 using AMO (antisense morpholino oligonucleotide)-mediated inhibition and demonstrate that FGF4 acts in the dorsal marginal zone to restrict blood development and promote the development of skeletal muscle. In addition, we used a drug inhibitor of FGF signalling and an inducible form of FGFR1 (FGF receptor 1) to identify a period of competence during late blastula and gastrula stages when FGF signalling acts to regulate blood versus muscle specification. Notably, we found that it is the dorsal activity of FGF that is required to restrict the expression of SCL (stem cell leukaemia) to the ventral blood island. Conclusions. Our data indicate that FGF4 is a key organizer-derived signal involved in the process of dorsoventral patterning of the mesoderm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-173
Number of pages8
JournalBiology of the Cell
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2007


  • dorsoventral patterning
  • fibroblast growth factor
  • gastrulation
  • mesoderm
  • Xenopus.

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