WNTs, FGFs, and BMPs Induce and Maintain the Telencephalon

Project: Research project

Project Details


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The embryonic neural plate is comprised of undifferentiated neural precursor cells that give rise to the central nervous system. In the anterior region of the neural plate, cells assume a telencephalic fate and eventually generate the adult cerebral hemispheres. The goal of this research is to understand why these anterior cells adopt a telencephalic fate and what promotes their survival and proliferation. The anterior neural ridge (ANR) that demarcates neuroectoderm from underlying ectoderm is necessary and sufficient to induce telencephalic character to neural plate cells. This ridge secretes Fibroblast Growth Factors (FGFs) and, at least in zebrafish, a Wingless-Int (WNT) antagonist encoded by the tlc gene. Knockdown of tlc or loss of other WNT antagonists (axin, six3) results in loss of telencephalic markers in zebrafish, indicating that low WNT signaling is necessary for telencephalon induction. In mice, it remains unclear if low WNT signaling is necessary for telencephalon induction. FGFs may also play a role in inducing the telencephalon, although no FGF signaling mutant in any species has yet been reported to result in the loss of the telencephalon. Our unpublished data, however, demonstrates that the tissue-specific deletion of three FGF receptor genes results in the loss of the telencephalon, except the dorsal midline, and that FGF signaling mediates organizer activity by inducing and patterning the telencephalic neuroepithelium and maintaining its cells alive. In this proposal, using genetic and explant culture approaches, we test whether WNTs regulate telencephalon induction in the mouse and how this pathway interacts with the FGF and BMP pathways in regulating cell fate, survival, and proliferation.
Effective start/end date7/17/094/30/15


  • National Institute of Mental Health: $410,850.00
  • National Institute of Mental Health: $415,000.00
  • National Institute of Mental Health: $394,416.00
  • National Institute of Mental Health: $415,000.00


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