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Abstract

Growth factor receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), such as the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR), play a major role in how cells communicate with their environment. FGFR signaling is crucial for normal development, and its misregulation in humans has been linked to developmental abnormalities and cancer. The precise molecular mechanisms by which FGFRs transduce extracellular signals to effect specific biologic responses is an area of intense research. Genetic analyses in model organisms have played a central role in our evolving understanding of these signal transduction cascades. Genetic studies in the nematode C. elegans have contributed to our knowledge of FGFR signaling by identifying genes involved in FGFR signal transduction and linking their gene products together into signaling modules. This review will describe FGFR-mediated signal transduction in C. elegans and focus on how these studies have contributed to our understanding of how FGFRs orchestrate the assembly of intracellular signaling pathways. BioEssays 23:1120–1130, 2001. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.