Initiation of neural induction by FGF signalling before gastrulation

Nature. 2000 Jul 6;406(6791):74-8. doi: 10.1038/35017617.


During neural induction, the 'organizer' of the vertebrate embryo instructs neighbouring ectodermal cells to become nervous system rather than epidermis. This process is generally thought to occur around the mid-gastrula stage of embryogenesis. Here we report the isolation of ERNI, an early response gene to signals from the organizer (Hensen's node). Using ERNI as a marker, we present evidence that neural induction begins before gastrulation--much earlier in development than previously thought. We show that the organizer and some of its precursor cells produce a fibroblast growth factor signal, which can initiate, and is required for, neural induction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Avian Proteins*
  • COS Cells
  • Chick Embryo
  • Culture Techniques
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / biosynthesis
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Embryonic Induction*
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 8
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / biosynthesis
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / physiology*
  • Gastrula*
  • High Mobility Group Proteins / biosynthesis
  • High Mobility Group Proteins / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology*
  • Nervous System / embryology*
  • Organizers, Embryonic
  • Quail
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription Factors


  • Avian Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • ERNI protein, chicken
  • High Mobility Group Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factors
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 8
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF218814