• fibroblast growth factor receptor;
  • midbrain;
  • hindbrain;
  • FGF signaling


Fibroblast growth factor 8 (FGF8) mediates the function of the midbrain–hindbrain organizer (MHO). FGF signals are transmitted by means of four known FGF receptors (FGFRs). Studies of Fgfr expression in early vertebrate development have shown that Fgfr1 is expressed along the entire neural tube, whereas Fgfr2 and Fgfr3 expression has been shown to spare the tissue adjacent to the MHO. The FGF8 signal from the MHO, therefore, was believed to be transmitted by FGFR1 exclusively. However, incongruent results from conditional mutants of Fgf8 and Fgfr1 in the midbrain–hindbrain (MHB) region contradict this hypothesis. Therefore, we reexamined the expression of the Fgfrs in this region. Fgfr1 is expressed all over the neural tube. Strikingly, Fgfr2 is expressed throughout the floor plate of the MHB region. In the basal plate, Fgfr2 directly abuts the Fgf8 expression domain at the MHO, anteriorly and posteriorly. Fgfr3 expression is in contact with the Fgf8 expression domain only in the rostroventral hindbrain. Based on these findings, we postulate a role for FGFR2 and FGFR3 in FGF signaling in the ventral midbrain and hindbrain. Developmental Dynamics 233:1023–1030, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.