Dissecting the role of Fgf signaling during gastrulation and left-right axis formation in mouse embryos using chemical inhibitors



Fgf signaling plays pivotal roles in mouse gastrulation and left-right axis formation. However, although genetic analyses have revealed important aspects of Fgf signaling in these processes, the temporal resolution of genetic studies is low. Here, we combined whole-embryo culture with application of chemical compounds to inhibit Fgf signaling at specific time points. We found that sodium chlorate and PD173074 are potent inhibitors of Fgf signaling in early mouse embryos. Fgf signaling is required for the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition of the primitive streak before the onset of gastrulation. Once gastrulation begins, Fgf signaling specifies mesodermal fates via the Ras/MAPK downstream cascade. Finally, Fgf signaling on the posterior side of the embryo during gastrulation induces Nodal expression in the node via Tbx6-Dll1, the initial event required for Nodal expression in the left lateral plate mesoderm. Developmental Dynamics 239:1768–1778, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.