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Keywords:

  • fibroblast growth factors;
  • heparin acrylic beads;
  • eye development;
  • neural retina;
  • pigmented epithelium;
  • somitogenesis;
  • otic vesicle

Abstract

We have investigated postgastrulation functions of FGFs in Xenopus development by the implantation of heparin beads soaked in FGF2 to various positions at various stages. Anterior implantations show different effects depending on whether they are made to early neurulae or to later stages. At stage 13–14 there is a total or partial suppression of anterior structures including the forebrain, eyes, and midbrain. From stage 15 onwards there is no loss of anterior parts but there is a change in the structure of the eye such that the neural retina remains continuous with the wall of the diencephalon and the territories normally forming the optic stalk and pigment epithelium instead become neural retina. Posterior implantations cause a disruption of somite segmentation without affecting the differentiation of muscle cells. This is associated with a prolongation of the uniform expression of X-Delta-2 during the phase of segmental determination. There is also an induction of ectopic otocysts, which can lie either ipsilateral or contralateral to the FGF-bead. The results are discussed in terms of the known late expression domains of the various Xenopus FGFs, and of the late functions of FGFs in higher vertebrates. They provide new evidence for a role of endogenous FGFs in the development of the eye, somites, and otocysts. Dev. Dyn. 1998; 212:75–85. © 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc.