Role of FGFs in skeletal muscle and limb development

Mol Reprod Dev. 1994 Sep;39(1):90-100; discussion 100-1. doi: 10.1002/mrd.1080390114.


Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) are a family of nine proteins that bind to three distinct types of cell surface molecules: (i) FGF receptor tyrosine kinases (FGFR-1 through FGFR-4); (ii) a cysteine-rich FGF receptor (CFR); and (iii) heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs). Signaling by FGFs requires participation of at least two of these receptors: the FGFRs and HSPGs form a signaling complex. The length and sulfation pattern of the heparan sulfate chain determines both the activity of the signaling complex and, in part, the ligand specificity for FGFR-1. Thus, the heparan sulfate proteoglycans are likely to play an essential role in signaling. We have recently identified a role for FGF in limb bud development in vivo. In the chick limb bud, ectopic expression of the 18 kDa form of FGF-2 or FGF-2 fused to an artificial signal peptide at its amino terminus causes skeletal duplications. These data, and the observations that FGF-2 is localized to the subjacent mesoderm and the apical ectodermal ridge in the early developing limb, suggest that FGF-2 plays an important role in limb outgrowth. We propose that FGF-2 is an apical ectodermal ridge-derived factor that participates in limb outgrowth and patterning.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbohydrate Conformation
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division
  • Chick Embryo
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / physiology*
  • Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans
  • Heparitin Sulfate / chemistry
  • Heparitin Sulfate / metabolism
  • Mesoderm / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Muscles / cytology
  • Muscles / embryology*
  • Osteogenesis
  • Proteoglycans / chemistry
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Wings, Animal / embryology*


  • Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans
  • Proteoglycans
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors
  • Heparitin Sulfate