To examine the potential role of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signalling during cell differentiation, we used conditionally immortalised podocyte cells isolated from kidneys of Fgf2 mutant and wild-type mice. Wild-type mouse podocyte cells upregulate FGF2 expression when differentiating in culture, as do maturing podocytes in vivo. Differentiating wild-type mouse podocyte cells undergo an epithelial to mesenchymal-like transition, reorganise their actin cytoskeleton and extend actin-based cellular processes; all of these activities are similar to the activity of podocytes in vivo. Molecular analysis of Fgf2 mutant mouse podocyte cells reveals a general disruption of FGF signalling as expression of Fgf7 and Fgf10 are also downregulated. These FGF mutant mouse podocyte cells in culture fail to activate mesenchymal markers and their post-mitotic differentiation is blocked. Furthermore, mutant mouse podocyte cells in culture fail to reorganise their actin cytoskeleton and form actin-based cellular processes. These studies show that FGF signalling is required by cultured podocytes to undergo the epithelial to mesenchymal-like changes necessary for terminal differentiation. Together with other studies, these results point to a general role for FGF signalling in regulating cell differentiation and formation of actin-based cellular processes during morphogenesis.