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Cre/lox-controlled spatio-temporal perturbation of FGF signaling in zebrafish

By Lucia Kirchgeorg, Anastasia Felker, Elena Chiavacci, Christian Mosimann

Posted 16 Apr 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/302174 (published DOI: 10.1002/dvdy.24668)

Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF) signaling guides multiple developmental processes including body axis formation and specific cell fate patterning. In zebrafish, genetic mutants and chemical perturbations affecting FGF signaling have uncovered key developmental processes; however, these approaches cause embryo-wide FGF signaling perturbations, rendering assessment of cell-autonomous versus non-autonomous requirements for FGF signaling in individual processes difficult. Here, we created the novel transgenic line fgfr1-dn-cargo, encoding dominant-negative Fgfr1 with fluorescent tag under combined Cre/lox and heatshock control to provide spatio-temporal perturbation of FGF signaling. Validating efficient perturbation of FGF signaling by fgfr1-dn-cargo primed with ubiquitous CreERT2, we established that primed, heatshock-induced fgfr1-dn-cargo behaves akin to pulsed treatment with the FGFR inhibitor SU5402. Priming fgfr1-dn-cargo with CreERT2 in the lateral plate mesoderm, we observed selective cardiac and pectoral fin phenotypes without drastic impact on overall embryo patterning. Harnessing lateral plate mesoderm-specific FGF inhibition, we recapitulated the cell-autonomous and temporal requirement for FGF signaling in pectoral fin outgrow, as previously hypothesized from pan-embryonic FGF inhibition. Altogether, our results establish fgfr1-dn-cargo as a genetic tool to define the spatio-temporal requirements for FGF signaling in zebrafish.

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