FGFs: Neurodevelopment's jack-of-all-trades - How do they do it?

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37 Scopus citations


From neurulation to postnatal processes, the requirements for FGF signaling in many aspects of neural precursor cell biology have been well documented. However, identifying a requirement for FGFs in a particular neurogenic process provides only an initial and superficial understanding of what FGF signaling is doing. How FGFs specify cell types in one instance, yet promote cell survival, proliferation, migration, or differentiation in other instances remains largely unknown and is key to understanding how they function. This review describes what we have learned primarily from in vivo vertebrate studies about the roles of FGF signaling in neurulation, anterior-posterior patterning of the neural plate, brain patterning from local signaling centers, and finally neocortex development as an example of continued roles for FGFs within the same brain area. The potential explanations for the diverse functions of FGFs through differential interactions with cell intrinsic and extrinsic factors is then discussed with an emphasis on how little we know about the modulation of FGF signaling in vivo. A clearer picture of the mechanisms involved is nevertheless essential to understand the behavior of neural precursor cells and to potentially guide their fates for therapeutic purposes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberArticle 133
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Issue numberDEC
StatePublished - 2011


  • Cell survival
  • FGF
  • Neocortex
  • Neural patterning
  • Neurogenesis
  • Telencephalon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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