The roles of the FGF signal in zebrafish embryos analyzed using constitutive activation and dominant-negative suppression of different FGF receptors

Mech Dev. 2009 Jan-Feb;126(1-2):1-17. doi: 10.1016/j.mod.2008.10.008. Epub 2008 Oct 30.


The roles of the FGF family growth factors and their receptors (FGFRs) in zebrafish embryos were examined using variously modified versions of the four FGFR genes (fgfr1-4). Constitutively active forms of all of the examined FGFRs (ca-FGFRs) caused dorsalization, brain caudalization, and secondary axis formation, indicating that the main FGF signal transduction downstream of the receptor is highly similar among FGFRs. All of the membrane-bound type of dominant-negative FGFRs (mdn-FGFRs) derived from the four fgfr genes, which interfere with endogenous FGFRs, produced posterior truncation, as previously reported in both Xenopus and zebrafish. mdn-FGFR3c had the strongest effects on embryos, progressively disrupting the posterior structure as the dose increased. At the highest dose, only the forebrain was formed. At lower doses, mdn-FGFR3c mainly suppressed the paraxial mesoderm. The co-injection of mRNA for different mdn-FGFRs and FGFs resulted in diverse suppression spectra of the respective FGFRs against FGFs. Only mdn-FGFR3c severely suppressed all of the FGFs examined. We also examined the effects of the secretory type of dominant-negative FGFRs (sdn-FGFRs), which are released from cells and trap FGF ligands. Only sdn-FGFR3c resulted in the characteristic effect of selectively disrupting the isthmic development, as well as the tailbud. The co-injection of the mRNA for sdn-FGFRs and FGFs suggested that sdn-FGFR3c inhibits FGFs of the FGF8 subfamily, which is consistent with its specific effects on development. We discuss the implications of our findings obtained in the present study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / embryology*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / metabolism*
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Ligands
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / deficiency
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / genetics
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Solubility
  • Zebrafish / embryology*
  • Zebrafish / genetics
  • Zebrafish / metabolism*


  • Ligands
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors