The signaling component of the mammalian Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF) family is comprised of eighteen secreted proteins that interact with four signaling tyrosine kinase FGF receptors (FGFRs). Interaction of FGF ligands with their signaling receptors is regulated by protein or proteoglycan cofactors and by extracellular binding proteins. Activated FGFRs phosphorylate specific tyrosine residues that mediate interaction with cytosolic adaptor proteins and the RAS-MAPK, PI3K-AKT, PLCγ, and STAT intracellular signaling pathways. Four structurally related intracellular non-signaling FGFs interact with and regulate the family of voltage gated sodium channels. Members of the FGF family function in the earliest stages of embryonic development and during organogenesis to maintain progenitor cells and mediate their growth, differentiation, survival, and patterning. FGFs also have roles in adult tissues where they mediate metabolic functions, tissue repair, and regeneration, often by reactivating developmental signaling pathways. Consistent with the presence of FGFs in almost all tissues and organs, aberrant activity of the pathway is associated with developmental defects that disrupt organogenesis, impair the response to injury, and result in metabolic disorders, and cancer. For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.
© 2015 The Authors. WIREs Developmental Biology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.