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1.  Bimodal, Reciprocal Regulation of Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor 1 Promoter Activity by BTEB1/KLF9 during Myogenesis 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2010;21(15):2780-2787.
Expression of FGFR1 controls both myoblast proliferation and differentiation. The Krüppel-like transcription factor BTEB1 demonstrates bimodal, reciprocal activity by activating the FGFR1 promoter in proliferating myoblasts and repressing the same promoter via the same DNA-binding site in differentiated myotubes.
Expression of the gene encoding fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR1) and subsequent FGFR1-mediated cell signaling controls numerous developmental and disease-related processes. The transcriptional regulation of the FGFR1 gene is central to these developmental events and serves as a molecular model for understanding transcriptional control of growth factor receptor genes. The FGFR1 promoter is activated in proliferating myoblasts via several Sp1-like binding elements. These elements display varying levels of activation potential, suggesting that unique protein-DNA complexes coordinate FGFR1 gene expression via each of these sites. The Krüppel-like factor, BTEB1/KLF9, was expressed in both proliferating myoblasts and differentiated myotubes in vitro. The BTEB1 protein was nuclear-localized in both cell types. BTEB1 activated the FGFR1 promoter via interaction with the Sp1-like binding site located at −59 bp within the FGFR1 promoter. FGFR1 gene expression is down-regulated during myogenic differentiation, and FGFR1 promoter activity is correspondingly reduced. This reduction in FGFR1 promoter activity was attributable to BTEB1 interaction with the same Sp1-like binding site located at −59 bp in the FGFR1 promoter. Therefore, BTEB1 is capable of functioning as a transcriptional activator and repressor of the same promoter via the same DNA-binding element and demonstrates a novel, bimodal role of BTEB1 during myogenesis.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E10-04-0290
PMCID: PMC2912362  PMID: 20554758
2.  FGF receptors 1 and 2 control chemically-induced injury and compound detoxification in regenerating livers of mice 
Gastroenterology  2010;139(4):1385-1396.e8.
Background & Aims
Fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) 4 controls bile acid metabolism and protects the liver from fibrosis, but the roles of FGFR1 and FGFR2 in the adult liver are largely unknown. We investigated the functions and mechanisms of action of these receptors in liver homeostasis, regeneration, and fibrosis.
Methods
We generated mice with hepatocytes that lack FGFR1 and FGFR2 and subjected them to acute and chronic carbon tetrachloride-induced liver injury and partial hepatectomy; mice were also injected with FGF7. We performed histology, histomorphometry, real-time reverse transcription PCR, and immunoblot analyses.
Results
In hepatocytes, loss of FGFR1 and FGFR2 eliminated responsiveness to FGF7 and related FGF family members, but did not affect toxin-induced liver injury and fibrosis. However, mortality after partial hepatectomy increased because of severe hepatocyte necrosis. These effects appeared to be mediated by a failure of hepatocyes to induce the expression of the transcriptional regulators Dbp and Tef upon liver surgery; this affected expression of their target genes, which encode detoxifying cytochrome P450 enzymes. We found that Dbp and Tef expression was directly controlled by FGFR signalling in hepatocytes. As a consequence of the reduced expression of genes that control detoxification, the liver tissue that remained after partial hepatectomy failed to efficiently metabolize endogenous compounds and the drugs applied for anaesthesia/analgesia.
Conclusions
We identified a new, cytoprotective effect of FGFR1 and FGFR2 in the regenerating liver and suggest the use of recombinant FGF7 to increase survival of patients after surgical resection of large amounts of liver tissue.
doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2010.06.069
PMCID: PMC2949525  PMID: 20603121
liver disease; cirrhosis; drug toxicity; cytoprotection
3.  Retinaldehyde dehydrogenase 2 is down regulated during duodenal atresia formation in Fgfr2IIIb−/− mice 
The Journal of Surgical Research  2011;175(1):82-87.
Background
Homozygous null mutation of Fgfr2IIIb or its ligand Fgf10 results in duodenal atresia in mice. Mutations of either of these genes in humans cause Matthew-Wood syndrome and associated duodenal stenosis. Recently, mutations in the retinol-binding protein receptor gene STRA6 were reported to be implicated in this syndrome as well. This suggests that the retinoic acid (RA) signaling pathway interacts with the Fgf10-Fgfr2IIIb signaling pathway during duodenal development. Accordingly, we hypothesized that Fgfr2IIIb−/− mouse embryos would exhibit disruptions in expression of Raldh2, the gene for the enzyme that regulates the final step in the conversion of vitamin A to the active form RA, during duodenal atresia formation.
Materials and Methods
Fgfr2IIIb −/− mice were generated from heterozygous breedings. Embryos were harvested between embryonic day (E) 11.0 to E13.5 and genotyped by PCR. Duodenums were dissected out, fixed and photographed. Whole mount and section in situs were performed for Raldh2.
Results
Fgfr2IIIb−/− embryos demonstrate subtle changes in the duodenal morphology by E11.5 with complete involution of the atretic precursor by E13.5. Raldh2 appears to be down regulated as early at E11.5 in the atretic precursor a full 2 days before this segment disappears.
Conclusions
In Fgfr2IIIb−/− mouse embryos, a reduction of Raldh2 expression is observed within the region that is forming the atresia. This is the first demonstration of such an event in this model. As in humans, these results implicate disruptions between Fgfr2IIIb receptor function and RA signaling in the formation of this defect and indicate that Fgfr2IIIb−/− mouse embryos are a valid model for the study of the atretic spectrum of defects in human duodenal development.
doi:10.1016/j.jss.2011.02.040
PMCID: PMC3154984  PMID: 21492869
Duodenal atresia; mouse; Fgfr2IIIb; Raldh2; retinoic acid; down regulation; gene expression; Matthew-Wood syndrome
4.  High incidence of vesico-ureteral reflux in mice with deletion of fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 in kidney mesenchyme 
The Journal of urology  2010;183(5):2077-2084.
Purpose
Mice with conditional deletion of fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (Fgfr2) in metanephric mesenchyme (Fgfr2Mes−/−) have ureteric bud induction abnormalities. Our goal was to determine if Fgfr2Mes−/− mutants developed abnormally positioned ureters predisposing to vesico-ureteral reflux (VUR).
Materials and Methods
We measured common nephric duct (CND) lengths and assayed for apoptosis in embryonic day (E) 11.5 mice. We performed 3 dimensional (3D) reconstructions of and real time PCR and whole mount in situ hybridization for Fgfr2 in urinary tracts in E15.5 embryos. We performed cystograms followed by 3D reconstructions in postnatal animals.
Results
Compared with controls, Fgfr2Mes−/− embryos had increased CND lengths (with no differences in apoptosis) indicating cranially displaced ureteric buds. 3-D reconstructions at E15.5 showed low insertions of ureters into the bladder (near bladder necks) in Fgfr2Mes−/− mice. Postnatal Fgfr2Mes−/− mutants had high rates of VUR compared with controls (47.4% vs. 4.0%, p=0.00006). In postnatal mutants with unilateral reflux, the refluxing ureters inserted closer to the bladder neck than non-refluxing ureters. The external ureteral insertional angles at the outer bladder wall (formed by the ureteral insertion points and bladder neck) were greater in mutant refluxing ureters compared to contralateral non-refluxing ureters and to control ureters. At E15.5, Fgfr2 levels were decreased in Fgfr2Mes−/− kidneys compared with controls, but were not statistically different in ureters or bladders.
Conclusions
Fgfr2Mes−/− mice have ureteric induction abnormalities, associated with abnormal ureteral insertion in the bladder and subsequent VUR, consistent with the Mackie and Stephens hypothesis.
doi:10.1016/j.juro.2009.12.095
PMCID: PMC3657704  PMID: 20303521
Embryonic development; Vesico-ureteral Reflux; Receptors; Fibroblast Growth Factor
5.  Genetic mosaic analysis reveals FGF receptor 2 function in terminal end buds during mammary gland branching morphogenesis 
Developmental biology  2008;321(1):77-87.
FGF signaling is associated with breast cancer and is required for mammary placode formation in the mouse. In this study, we employed a genetic mosaic analysis based on Cre-mediated recombination to investigate FGF receptor 2 (Fgfr2) function in the postnatal mammary gland. Mosaic inactivation of Fgfr2 by the MMTVCre transgene enabled us to compare the behavior of Fgfr2 null and Fgfr2 heterozygous cells in the same gland. Fgfr2 null cells were at a competitive disadvantage to their Fgfr2 heterozygous neighbors in the highly proliferative terminal end buds (TEBs) at the invasion front, owing to a negative effect of loss of Fgfr2 function on cell proliferation. However, Fgfr2 null cells were tolerated in mature ducts. In these genetic mosaic mammary glands, the epithelial network is apparently built by TEBs that over time are composed of a progressively larger proportion of Fgfr2-positive cells. However, subsequently, most cells lose Fgfr2 function, presumably due to additional rounds of Cre-mediated recombination. Using an independent strategy to create mosaic mammary glands, which employed an adenovirus-Cre that acts only once, we confirmed that Fgfr2 null cells were out-competed by neighboring Fgfr2 heterozygous cells. Together, our data demonstrate that Fgfr2 functions in the proliferating and invading TEBs, but it is not required in the mature ducts of the pubertal mammary gland.
doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2008.06.005
PMCID: PMC2582391  PMID: 18585375
Cre recombinase; Epithelial-mesenchymal crosstalk; FGF signaling; Mosaic analysis; Terminal end buds
6.  Analysis of Mutations in Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF) and a Pathogenic Mutation in FGF Receptor (FGFR) Provides Direct Evidence for the Symmetric Two-End Model for FGFR Dimerization 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(2):671-684.
Two competing models for fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptor (FGFR) dimerization have recently emerged based on ternary FGF-FGFR-heparin crystal structures. In the symmetric two-end model, heparin promotes dimerization of two FGF-FGFR complexes by stabilizing bivalent interactions of the ligand and receptor through primary and secondary sites and by stabilizing direct receptor-receptor contacts. In the asymmetric model, there are no protein-protein contacts between the two FGF-FGFR complexes, which are bridged solely by heparin. To identify the correct mode of FGFR dimerization, we abolished interactions at the secondary ligand-receptor interaction site, which are observed only in the symmetric two-end model, using site-directed mutagenesis. Cellular studies and real-time binding assays, as well as matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight analysis, demonstrate that loss of secondary ligand-receptor interactions results in diminished FGFR activation due to decreased dimerization without affecting FGF-FGFR binding. Additionally, structural and biochemical analysis of an activating FGFR2 mutation resulting in Pfeiffer syndrome confirms the physiological significance of receptor-receptor contacts in the symmetric two-end model and provides a novel mechanism for FGFR gain of function in human skeletal disorders. Taken together, the data validate the symmetric two-end model of FGFR dimerization and argue against the asymmetric model of FGFR dimerization.
doi:10.1128/MCB.25.2.671-684.2005
PMCID: PMC543411  PMID: 15632068
7.  Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor Signaling Dramatically Accelerates Tumorigenesis and Enhances Oncoprotein Translation in the Mouse Mammary Tumor Virus–Wnt-1 Mouse Model of Breast Cancer 
Cancer research  2010;70(12):4868-4879.
Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) cooperates with the Wnt/β-catenin pathway to promote mammary tumorigenesis. To investigate the mechanisms involved in FGF/Wnt cooperation, we genetically engineered a model of inducible FGF receptor (iFGFR) signaling in the context of the well-established mouse mammary tumor virus–Wnt-1 transgenic mouse. In the bigenic mice, iFGFR1 activation dramatically enhanced mammary tumorigenesis. Expression microarray analysis did not show transcriptional enhancement of Wnt/β-catenin target genes but instead showed a translational gene signature that also correlated with elevated FGFR1 and FGFR2 in human breast cancer data sets. Additionally, iFGFR1 activation enhanced recruitment of RNA to polysomes, resulting in a marked increase in protein expression of several different Wnt/β-catenin target genes. FGF pathway activation stimulated extracellular signal-regulated kinase and the phosphorylation of key translation regulators both in vivo in the mouse model and in vitro in a human breast cancer cell line. Our results suggest that cooperation of the FGF and Wnt pathways in mammary tumorigenesis is based on the activation of protein translational pathways that result in, but are not limited to, increased expression of Wnt/β-catenin target genes (at the level of protein translation). Further, they reveal protein translation initiation factors as potential therapeutic targets for human breast cancers with alterations in FGF signaling.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-4404
PMCID: PMC3005245  PMID: 20501844
8.  Targeting Wild-Type and Mutationally Activated FGFR4 in Rhabdomyosarcoma with the Inhibitor Ponatinib (AP24534) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76551.
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common childhood soft tissue sarcoma. Despite advances in modern therapy, patients with relapsed or metastatic disease have a very poor clinical prognosis. Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor 4 (FGFR4) is a cell surface tyrosine kinase receptor that is involved in normal myogenesis and muscle regeneration, but not commonly expressed in differentiated muscle tissues. Amplification and mutational activation of FGFR4 has been reported in RMS and promotes tumor progression. Therefore, FGFR4 is a tractable therapeutic target for patients with RMS. In this study, we used a chimeric Ba/F3 TEL-FGFR4 construct to test five tyrosine kinase inhibitors reported to specifically inhibit FGFRs in the nanomolar range. We found ponatinib (AP24534) to be the most potent FGFR4 inhibitor with an IC50 in the nanomolar range. Ponatinib inhibited the growth of RMS cells expressing wild-type or mutated FGFR4 through increased apoptosis. Phosphorylation of wild-type and mutated FGFR4 as well as its downstream target STAT3 was also suppressed by ponatinib. Finally, ponatinib treatment inhibited tumor growth in a RMS mouse model expressing mutated FGFR4. Therefore, our data suggests that ponatinib is a potentially effective therapeutic agent for RMS tumors that are driven by a dysregulated FGFR4 signaling pathway.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076551
PMCID: PMC3790700  PMID: 24124571
9.  FGF10/FGFR2b signaling plays essential roles during in vivo embryonic submandibular salivary gland morphogenesis 
Background
Analyses of Fgf10 and Fgfr2b mutant mice, as well as human studies, suggest that FGF10/FGFR2b signaling may play an essential, nonredundant role during embryonic SMG development. To address this question, we have analyzed the SMG phenotype in Fgf10 and Fgfr2b heterozygous and null mutant mice. In addition, although previous studies suggest that the FGF10/FGFR2b and FGF8/FGFR2c signaling pathways are functionally interrelated, little is known about the functional relationship between these two pathways during SMG development. We have designed in vivo and in vitro experiments to address this question.
Results
We analyzed Fgf10 and Fgfr2b heterozygous mutant and null mice and demonstrate dose-dependent SMG phenotypic differences. Hypoplastic SMGs are seen in Fgf10 and Fgfr2b heterozygotes whereas SMG aplasia is seen in Fgf10 and Fgfr2b null embryos. Complementary in vitro studies further indicate that FGF10/FGFR2b signaling regulates SMG epithelial branching and cell proliferation. To delineate the functional relationship between the FGF10/FGFR2b and FGF8/FGFR2c pathways, we compared the SMG phenotype in Fgfr2c+/Δ/Fgf10+/- double heterozygous mice to that seen in wildtype, Fgf10+/- (Fgfr2c+/+/Fgf10+/-) and Fgfr2c+/Δ (Fgfr2c+/Δ/Fgf10+/+) single heterozygous mutant littermates and demonstrate genotype-specific SMG phenotypes. In addition, exogenous FGF8 was able to rescue the abnormal SMG phenotype associated with abrogated FGFR2b signaling in vitro and restore branching to normal levels.
Conclusion
Our data indicates that FGF10/FGFR2b signaling is essential for the SMG epithelial branching and histodifferentiation, but not earliest initial bud formation. The functional presence of other endogenous signaling pathways could not prevent complete death of embryonic SMG cells in Fgf10 and Fgfr2b null mice. Though we were able to rescue the abnormal phenotype associated with reduced in vitro FGF10/FGFR2b signaling with exogenous FGF8 supplementation, our results indicate that the FGF10/FGFR2b and FGF8/FGFR2c are nonredundant signaling pathways essential for in vivo embryonic SMG development. What remains to be determined is the in vivo functional relationship between the FGF10/FGFR2b signal transduction pathway and other key signaling pathways, and how these pathways are integrated during embryonic SMG development to compose the functional epigenome.
doi:10.1186/1471-213X-5-11
PMCID: PMC1184065  PMID: 15972105
10.  Transcription factor TEAD4 regulates expression of Myogenin and the unfolded protein response genes during C2C12 cell differentiation 
Cell Death and Differentiation  2011;19(2):220-231.
The TEAD (1–4) transcription factors comprise the conserved TEA/ATTS DNA-binding domain recognising the MCAT element in the promoters of muscle-specific genes. Despite extensive genetic analysis, the function of TEAD factors in muscle differentiation has proved elusive due to redundancy among the family members. Expression of the TEA/ATTS DNA-binding domain that acts as a dominant negative repressor of TEAD factors in C2C12 myoblasts inhibits their differentiation, whereas selective shRNA knockdown of TEAD4 results in abnormal differentiation characterised by the formation of shortened myotubes. Chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled to array hybridisation shows that TEAD4 occupies 867 promoters including those of myogenic miRNAs. We show that TEAD factors directly induce Myogenin, CDKN1A and Caveolin 3 expression to promote myoblast differentiation. RNA-seq identifies a set of genes whose expression is strongly reduced upon TEAD4 knockdown among which are structural and regulatory proteins and those required for the unfolded protein response. In contrast, TEAD4 represses expression of the growth factor CTGF (connective tissue growth factor) to promote differentiation. Together these results show that TEAD factor activity is essential for normal C2C12 cell differentiation and suggest a role for TEAD4 in regulating expression of the unfolded protein response genes.
doi:10.1038/cdd.2011.87
PMCID: PMC3263497  PMID: 21701496
MYOD1; ER-stress; myoblast fusion; Chromatin immunoprecipitation; RNA-seq
11.  The Function of FGF Signaling in the Lens Placode 
Developmental biology  2011;351(1):176-185.
Previous studies suggested that FGF signaling is important for lens formation. However, the times at which FGFs act to promote lens formation, the FGFs that are involved, the cells that secrete them and the mechanisms by which FGF signaling may promote lens formation are not known. We found that transcripts encoding several FGF ligands and the four classical FGF receptors are detectable in the lens-forming ectoderm at the time of lens induction. Conditional deletion of Fgfr1 and Fgfr2 from this tissue resulted in the formation of small lens rudiments that soon degenerated. Lens placodes lacking Fgfr1 and 2 were thinner than in wild type embryos. Deletion of Fgfr2 increased cell death from the initiation of placode formation and concurrent deletion of Fgfr1 enhanced this phenotype. Fgfr1/2 conditional knockout placode cells expressed lower levels of proteins known to be regulated by FGF receptor signaling, but proteins known to be important for lens formation were present at normal levels in the remaining placode cells, including the transcription factors, Pax6, Sox2 and FoxE3 and the lens-preferred protein, αA-crystallin. Previous studies identified a genetic interaction between BMP and FGF signaling in lens formation and conditional deletion of Bmpr1a caused increased cell death in the lens placode, resulting in the formation of smaller lenses. In the present study, conditional deletion of both Bmpr1a and Fgfr2 increased cell death beyond that seen in Fgfr2CKO placodes and prevented lens formation. These results suggest that the primary role of autocrine or paracrine FGF signaling is to provide essential survival signals to lens placode cells. Because apoptosis was already increased at the onset of placode formation in Fgfr1/2 conditional knockout placode cells, FGF signaling was functionally absent during the period of lens induction by the optic vesicle. Since the expression of proteins required for lens formation was not altered in the knockout placode cells, we can conclude that FGF signaling from the optic vesicle is not required for lens induction.
doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.01.001
PMCID: PMC3053579  PMID: 21223962
Lens induction; Fibroblast growth factors; FGF receptors; apoptosis; Pax6
12.  Combined KIT and FGFR2b Signaling Regulates Epithelial Progenitor Expansion during Organogenesis 
Stem Cell Reports  2013;1(6):604-619.
Summary
Organ formation and regeneration require epithelial progenitor expansion to engineer, maintain, and repair the branched tissue architecture. Identifying the mechanisms that control progenitor expansion will inform therapeutic organ (re)generation. Here, we discover that combined KIT and fibroblast growth factor receptor 2b (FGFR2b) signaling specifically increases distal progenitor expansion during salivary gland organogenesis. FGFR2b signaling upregulates the epithelial KIT pathway so that combined KIT/FGFR2b signaling, via separate AKT and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways, amplifies FGFR2b-dependent transcription. Combined KIT/FGFR2b signaling selectively expands the number of KIT+K14+SOX10+ distal progenitors, and a genetic loss of KIT signaling depletes the distal progenitors but also unexpectedly depletes the K5+ proximal progenitors. This occurs because the distal progenitors produce neurotrophic factors that support gland innervation, which maintains the proximal progenitors. Furthermore, a rare population of KIT+FGFR2b+ cells is present in adult glands, in which KIT signaling also regulates epithelial-neuronal communication during homeostasis. Our findings provide a framework to direct regeneration of branched epithelial organs.
Highlights
•Combined KIT and FGFR2b signaling amplifies FGFR2b-dependent transcription•KIT/FGFR2b signaling during organogenesis expands distal KIT+ epithelial progenitors•Distal progenitors communicate with proximal progenitors via the neuronal niche•KIT+ progenitors maintain epithelial-neuronal communication during adult homeostasis
Hoffman and colleagues demonstrate that combined KIT and fibroblast growth factor receptor 2b (FGFR2b) signaling expands the distal KIT+FGFR2b+ progenitor population in branching organs. This is important for continued branching morphogenesis because the KIT+FGFR2b+ progenitors produce neurotrophic factors to communicate with the neuronal niche to direct the ductal differentiation of proximal Keratin 5+ progenitors.
doi:10.1016/j.stemcr.2013.10.013
PMCID: PMC3871401  PMID: 24371813
13.  Genetic inactivation of ERK1 and ERK2 in chondrocytes promotes bone growth and enlarges the spinal canal 
Activating mutations in FGFR3 cause the most common forms of human dwarfism: achondroplasia and thanatophoric dysplasia. In mouse models of achondroplasia, recent studies have implicated the ERK MAPK pathway, a pathway activated by FGFR3, in creating reduced bone growth. Our recent studies have indicated that increased Fgfr3 and ERK MAPK signaling in chondrocytes also causes premature synchondrosis closure in the cranial base and vertebrae, accounting for the sometimes fatal stenosis of the foramen magnum and spinal canal in achondroplasia. Conversely, whether the decrease—or inactivation—of ERK1 and ERK2 promotes bone growth and delays synchondrosis closure remains to be investigated. In this study, we inactivated ERK2 in the chondrocytes of ERK1-null mice using the Col2a1-Cre and Col2a1-CreER transgenes. We found that the genetic inactivation of ERK1 and ERK2 in chondrocytes enhances the growth of cartilaginous skeletal elements. We also found that the postnatal inactivation of ERK1 and ERK2 in chondrocytes delays synchondrosis closure and enlarges the spinal canal. These observations make ERK1 and ERK2 an attractive target for the treatment of achondroplasia and other FGFR3-related skeletal syndromes.
doi:10.1002/jor.21262
PMCID: PMC3133721  PMID: 20922792
ERK; chondrocytes; bone growth; synchondrosis; achondroplasia
14.  Related Transcriptional Enhancer Factor 1 Increases Endothelial-Dependent Microvascular Relaxation and Proliferation 
Journal of Vascular Research  2012;49(3):249-259.
Objective
Related transcriptional enhancer factor 1 (RTEF-1) is a key transcriptional regulator in endothelial function. In this study, we investigated a possible role for RTEF-1 in the regulation of microvascular relaxation and the underlying mechanism involved. Activation of fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR1) by FGFs increases vasodilation, although transcriptional control of the molecular mechanisms underlying FGFR1 is still unclear. Materials and Methods: We demonstrated that RTEF-1 stimulated FGFR1 expression at the transcriptional level, specifically an area including Sp1 elements, as evidenced by promoter assays. Additionally, RTEF-1 increased FGFR1 mRNA and protein expression in vitro and in VE-cadherin-promoted RTEF-1 (VE-Cad/RTEF-1) transgenic mice, whereas RTEF-1 siRNA blocked the upregulation of FGFR1 expression. Furthermore, increased endothelial-dependent microvessel relaxation was observed in the coronary arteries of VE-Cad/RTEF-1 mice, and increased proliferation was observed in RTEF-1-overexpressing cells, both of which correlated to increased FGF/FGFR1 signaling and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) upregulation. Our results indicate that RTEF-1 acts as a transcriptional stimulator of FGFR1 and is involved in FGF pathways by increasing microvessel dilatation via eNOS.
Conclusions
These findings suggest that RTEF-1 plays an important role in FGFR1- stimulated vasodilatation. Understanding the effect of RTEF-1 in microvessel relaxation may provide beneficial knowledge in improving treatments in regards to ischemic vascular disorders.
doi:10.1159/000335180
PMCID: PMC3369257  PMID: 22433836
Fibroblast growth factor receptor 1; Related transcriptional enhancer factor 1; Endothelial nitric oxide synthase; Endothelial function; Microvascular relaxation
15.  Remodeling of chromatin structure within the promoter is important for bmp-2-induced fgfr3 expression 
Nucleic Acids Research  2009;37(12):3897-3911.
Fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) plays an important role in cartilage development. Although upregulation of FGFR3 expression in response to bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) has been reported, the molecular mechanisms remain unknown. In this study, we used in vivo approaches to characterize BMP-2-induced alterations in the chromatin organization of the FGFR3 core promoter. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis demonstrated that the binding of Brg1, a component of the SWI/SNF remodeling complex, may selectively remodel a chromatin region (encompassing nucleotide –90 to +35), uncovering the transcription start site and three Sp1-binding sites, as revealed by nuclease digestion hypersensitivity assays. We then showed an increase in the association of Sp1 with the proximal promoter, followed by the recruitment of p300, resulting in a change of the histone ‘code’, such as in phosphorylation and methylation. Collectively, our study results suggest a model for BMP-2-induced FGFR3 expression in which the core promoter architecture is specifically regulated.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkp261
PMCID: PMC2709561  PMID: 19401440
16.  Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor 2 Phosphorylation on Serine 779 Couples to 14-3-3 and Regulates Cell Survival and Proliferation▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2008;28(10):3372-3385.
The fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) exert their diverse (or pleiotropic) biological responses through the binding and activation of specific cell surface receptors (FGFRs). While FGFRs are known to initiate intracellular signaling through receptor tyrosine phosphorylation, the precise mechanisms by which the FGFRs regulate pleiotropic biological responses remain unclear. We now identify a new mechanism by which FGFR2 is able to regulate intracellular signaling and cellular responses. We show that FGFR2 is phosphorylated on serine 779 (S779) in response to FGF2. S779, which lies adjacent to the phospholipase Cγ binding site at Y766, provides a docking site for the 14-3-3 phosphoserine-binding proteins and is essential for the full activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and Ras/mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways. Furthermore, S779 signaling is essential for promoting cell survival and proliferation in both Ba/F3 cells and BALB/c 3T3 fibroblasts. This new mode of FGFR2 phosphoserine signaling via the 14-3-3 proteins may provide an increased repertoire of signaling outputs to allow the regulation of pleiotropic biological responses. In this regard, we have identified conserved putative phosphotyrosine/phosphoserine motifs in the cytoplasmic domains of diverse cell surface receptors, suggesting that they may perform important functional roles beyond the FGFRs.
doi:10.1128/MCB.01837-07
PMCID: PMC2423162  PMID: 18332103
17.  Prox1 Promotes Lineage-specific Expression of Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF) Receptor-3 in Lymphatic Endothelium: A Role for FGF Signaling in Lymphangiogenesis 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2006;17(2):576-584.
Fibroblast growth factors play important roles in angiogenesis, but their functions in lymphangiogenesis remain poorly understood. The homeodomain transcription factor Prox1 is essential for development of the lymphatic system by specifying lymphatic endothelial cell (LEC) fate. Here, we identify fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptor (FGFR)-3 as a novel Prox1 target gene. Ectopic overexpression of Prox1 in blood vascular endothelial cells up-regulates FGFR-3. Prox1 induces the expression of the IIIc isoform, which we also found to be the major isoform of FGFR-3 expressed in LECs. This transcriptional activation is mediated by a direct binding of Prox1 to newly identified Prox1-response elements in the FGFR-3 promoter. Consistently, FGFR-3 is up-regulated in Prox1-positive newly formed lymphatic vessels during embryogenesis and its lymphatic-specific expression is maintained throughout development. We also found that FGF-1 and FGF-2 promote proliferation, migration, and survival of cultured LECs without involvement of vascular endothelial cell growth factor receptor-3. We show that FGF-2 binds to low- and high-affinity receptors on LECs and is efficiently internalized and processed. Moreover, functional inhibition of FGFR-3 using small interfering RNA represses LEC proliferation. Together, these results indicate that FGFR-3 is an initial target of Prox1 during the lymphatic cell fate specification and that FGF signaling may play an important role in lymphatic vessel development.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E05-04-0368
PMCID: PMC1356570  PMID: 16291864
18.  Role of SHP-2 in Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor-Mediated Suppression of Myogenesis in C2C12 Myoblasts 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2002;22(11):3875-3891.
Ligand activation of the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) represses myogenesis and promotes activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (Erks). The precise mechanism through which the FGFR transmits both of these signals in myoblasts remains unclear. The SH2 domain-containing protein tyrosine phosphatase, SHP-2, has been shown to participate in the regulation of FGFR signaling. However, no role for SHP-2 in FGFR myogenic signaling is known. In this study, we show that stimulation of C2C12 myoblasts with FGF-2 induces SHP-2 complex formation with tyrosyl-phosphorylated FGFR substrate 2α (FRS-2α). Both the catalytic activity and, to a much lesser extent, the Grb2 binding-tyrosyl phosphorylation sites of SHP-2 are required for maximal FGF-2-induced Erk activity and Elk-1 transactivation. When overexpressed in C2C12 myoblasts, wild-type SHP-2, but not a catalytically inactive SHP-2 mutant, potentiates the suppressive effects of FGF-2 on muscle-specific gene expression. In addition, expression of a constitutively active mutant of SHP-2 is sufficient to prevent myogenesis. The constitutively active mutant of SHP-2 induces hyper-tyrosyl phosphorylation of FRS-2α but fails to stimulate or potentiate either FGF-2-induced Erk activation or Elk-1 transactivation. These data suggest that in myoblasts, SHP-2 represses myogenesis via a pathway that is independent of the Erks. We propose that SHP-2 plays a pivotal role in FGFR signaling in myoblasts via both Erk-dependent and Erk-independent pathways.
doi:10.1128/MCB.22.11.3875-3891.2002
PMCID: PMC133814  PMID: 11997521
19.  Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor-1 (FGFR1) Nuclear Dynamics Reveal a Novel Mechanism in Transcription Control 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2009;20(9):2401-2412.
Nuclear FGFR1 acts as a developmental gene regulator in cooperation with FGF-2, RSK1, and CREB-binding protein (CBP). FRAP analysis revealed three nuclear FGFR1 populations: i) a fast mobile, ii) a slower mobile population reflecting chromatin-bound FGFR1, and iii) an immobile FGFR1 population associated with the nuclear matrix. Factors (cAMP, CBP) that induce FGFR1-mediated gene activation shifted FGFR1 from the nuclear matrix (immobile) to chromatin (slow) and reduced the movement rate of the chromatin-bound population. Transcription inhibitors accelerated FGFR1 movement; the content of the chromatin-bound slow FGFR1 decreased, whereas the fast population increased. The transcriptional activation appears to involve conversion of the immobile matrix-bound and the fast nuclear FGFR1 into a slow chromatin-binding population through FGFR1's interaction with CBP, RSK1, and the high-molecular-weight form of FGF-2. Our findings support a general mechanism in which gene activation is governed by protein movement and collisions with other proteins and nuclear structures.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E08-06-0600
PMCID: PMC2675620  PMID: 19261810
20.  Fibroblast growth factor 19 expression correlates with tumor progression and poorer prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:56.
Background
Although fibroblast growth factor 19 (FGF19) can promote liver carcinogenesis in mice, its involvement in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has not been well investigated. FGF19, a member of the FGF family, has unique specificity for its receptor FGFR4. This study aimed to clarify the involvement of FGF19 in the development of HCC.
Methods
We investigated human FGF19 and FGFR4 expression in 40 hepatocellular carcinoma specimens using quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis and immunohistochemistry. Moreover, we examined the expression and the distribution of FGF19 and FGFR4 in 5 hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines (HepG2, HuH7, HLE, HLF, and JHH7) using RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. To test the role of the FGF19/FGFR4 system in tumor progression, we used recombinant FGF19 protein and small interfering RNA (siRNA) of FGF19 and FGFR4 to regulate their concentrations.
Results
We found that FGF19 was significantly overexpressed in HCCs as compared with corresponding noncancerous liver tissue (P < 0.05). Univariate and multivariate analyses revealed that the tumor FGF19 mRNA expression was an independent prognostic factor for overall and disease-free survival. Moreover, we found that the FGF19 recombinant protein could increase the proliferation (P < 0.01, n = 12) and invasion (P < 0.01, n = 6) capabilities of human hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines and inhibited their apoptosis (P < 0.01, n = 12). Inversely, decreasing FGF19 and FGFR4 expression by siRNA significantly inhibited proliferation and increased apoptosis in JHH7 cells (P < 0.01, n = 12). The postoperative serum FGF19 levels in HCC patients was significantly lower than the preoperative levels (P < 0.01, n = 29).
Conclusions
FGF19 is critically involved in the development of HCCs. Targeting FGF19 inhibition is an attractive potential therapeutic strategy for HCC.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-56
PMCID: PMC3293719  PMID: 22309595
21.  TEAD1 inhibits prolactin gene expression in cultured human uterine decidual cells1 
Forced overexpression of TEAD1 in human uterine fibroblast (HUF) and human endometrial stromal cells markedly inhibited prolactin promoter activity in both cell types in a dose-dependent manner, with maximal inhibition of greater than 90%. Conversely, the knockdown of TEAD1 expression in HUF cells with a TEAD1 siRNA resulted in a 75–80% increase in prolactin mRNA levels (P<0.01) compared to control cells exposed to a scrambled nonsense RNA. Mutagenesis of the putative TEAD site inhibited basal promoter activity by about 80%. However, mutagenesis of the TEAD site did not prevent TEAD1-induced inhibition of promoter activity; and the transcription activity of a minimal promoter fragment lacking a putative TEAD binding site was repressed by overexpression of TEAD1. Taken together, these findings suggest that the TEAD binding site on the prolactin promoter is important for the maintenance of basal prolactin promoter activity and that overexpression of TEAD1 has a dominant-negative effect on prolactin promoter activity, probably by interacting directly with other transcription factors.
doi:10.1016/j.mce.2008.08.007
PMCID: PMC2615051  PMID: 18775765
transcription; gene regulation; siRNA; (human decidua)
22.  The prognostic value of FGFR3 mutational status for disease recurrence and progression depends on allelic losses at 9p22 
Developing molecular markers that define high-risk lesions is clinically critical for improving the prognosis determination of the tumors and their treatment. We decided to focus on the two pathways involving FGFR3 and allelic losses at 9p22 to identify a potential combined role in predicting tumor recurrence, progression and/or muscle. Microsatellite and mutational FGFR3 status analyses was performed in tumor tissue of 58 patients in a prospective unicentre study. The results of microsatellite and FGFR3 analyses were dichotomized as follows: loss of heterozygos-ity (LOH) versus retention of heterozygosity (ROH) on the one hand; mutant FGFR3 (mtFGFR3) versus wild-type FGFR3 (wtFGFR3) on the other hand. The combined 9p22/FGFR3 status was strongly correlated with stage (p=0.001) and grade (p<0.001) whereas the single FGFR3 mutational status was not able to predict recurrence, progression or muscle invasion. The survival curves corresponding to each combined status (mtFGFR3/ROH, wtFGFR3/ROH, mtFGFR3/LOH, wtFGFR3/LOH) were significantly different for recurrence (p=0.008), progression (p=0.046) and progression to muscle invasive disease (p=0.004). In case of 9p22 LOH, the FGFR3 mutational status was strongly associated with different clinical outcomes. In a multivariate model, the combined wtFGFR3/9p22 LOH status remained significant in predicting oncologic outcomes. FGFR3 mutations strongly characterize tumors with low malignant potential and favourable clinical outcome in case of allelic losses at 9p22, whereas its prognostic value becomes null or slightly inverts in case of allelic stability. Thus, our findings may also lead to further experiments in order to study interactions between FGFR3 and genes located at 9p22, as CDKN2A.
PMCID: PMC3186048  PMID: 21984968
Bladder cancer; FGFR3; loss of heterozygosity; prognosis; mutations
23.  Identification of FGFR4 as a Potential Therapeutic Target for Advanced-Stage High-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer 
Purpose
To evaluate the prognostic value of fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 (FGFR4) protein expression in patients with advanced-stage, high-grade serous ovarian cancer, delineate the functional role of FGFR4 in ovarian cancer progression, and evaluate the feasibility of targeting FGFR4 in serous ovarian cancer treatment.
Experimental Design
Immunolocalization of FGFR4 was performed on 183 ovarian tumor samples. The collected FGFR4 expression data were correlated with overall survival using Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analyses. The effects of FGFR4 silencing on ovarian cancer cell growth, survival, invasiveness, apoptosis and FGF1-mediated signaling pathway activation were evaluated by transfecting cells with FGFR4-specific small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). An orthotopic mouse model was used to evaluate the effect of injection of FGFR4-specific siRNAs and FGFR4 trap protein encapsulated in nanoliposomes on ovarian tumor growth in vivo.
Results
Overexpression of FGFR4 protein was significantly associated with decreased overall survival durations. FGFR4 silencing significantly decreased the proliferation, survival, and invasiveness and increased apoptosis of ovarian cancer cells. Also, downregulation of FGFR4 significantly abrogated the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), nuclear factor-κB (NFκB), and WNT signaling pathways, which are activated by FGF1. Targeting FGFR4 with the FGFR4-specific siRNAs and FGFR4 trap protein significantly decreased ovarian tumor growth in vivo.
Conclusions
FGFR4 is a prognostic marker for advanced-stage, high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma. Silencing FGFR4 and inhibiting ligand-receptor binding significantly decrease ovarian tumor growth both in vitro and in vivo, suggesting that targeting ovarian cancer cells with high levels of FGFR4 protein expression is a new therapeutic modality for this disease and will improve survival of it.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-2736
PMCID: PMC3577959  PMID: 23344261
serous ovarian carcinoma; FGFR4; FGF1; nanoliposomes; FGF trap
24.  Haploinsufficiency of retinaldehyde dehydrogenase 2 decreases the severity and incidence of duodenal atresia in the fibroblast growth factor receptor 2IIIb−/− mouse model 
Surgery  2012;152(4):768-776.
Background
Homozygous null mutation of the fibroblast growth factor receptor 2IIIb (Fgfr2IIIb) gene in mice results in 42% of embryos developing duodenal atresias. Retinaldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (Raldh2, a gene critical for the generation of retinoic acid) is expressed in the mouse duodenum during the temporal window when duodenal atresias form. Raldh2 is critical for the normal development of the pancreatoduodenal region; therefore, we were interested in the effect of a Raldh2 mutation on duodenal atresia formation. To test this, we rendered Fgfr2IIIb−/− embryos haploinsufficient for the Raldh2 and examined these embryos for the incidence and severity of duodenal atresia.
Methods
Control embryos, Fgfr2IIIb−/− mutants, and Fgfr2IIIb−/−; Raldh2+/− mutants were harvested at embryonic day 18.5, genotyped, and fixed overnight. Intestinal tracts were isolated. The type and severity of duodenal atresia was documented.
Results
A total of 97 Fgfr2IIIb−/− embryos were studied; 44 had duodenal atresias, and 41 of these presented as type III. In the 70 Fgfr2IIIb−/−; Raldh2+/− embryos studied, a lesser incidence of duodenal atresia was seen (15 of 70; P = .0017; Fisher exact test). Atresia severity was also decreased; there were 12 embryos with type I atresias, 3 with type II atresias, and 0 with type III atresias (P < 2.81E–013; Fisher exact test).
Conclusion
Haploinsufficiency of Raldh2 decreases the incidence and severity of duodenal atresia in the Fgfr2IIIb−/− model. The ability to alter defect severity through manipulation of a single gene in a specific genetic background has potentially important implications for understanding the mechanisms by which intestinal atresias arise.
doi:10.1016/j.surg.2012.07.022
PMCID: PMC3665403  PMID: 23021139
25.  Conditional mutation of fibroblast growth factor receptors 1 and 2 results in an omphalocele in mice associated with disruptions in ventral body wall muscle formation☆, ☆☆ 
Journal of pediatric surgery  2011;46(1):90-96.
Background/Purpose
We observed that fibroblast growth factor receptors 1 and 2 (Fgfr1, Fgfr2) are expressed during abdominal wall development in mice and hypothesized that conditional mutation of these genes would result in abdomial wall defects.
Methods
Section in situ hybridizations were performed for Fgfr1 and Fgfr2 on wild-type embryos at embryonic day (E) 11.5 and E13.5. Conditional mutation of Fgfr1 and Fgfr2 was achieved with a tamoxifen inducible Cre at E8.5. Litters were harvested at E17.5, whole mount photographs were taken, and paraffin sections were generated and stained with hematoxylin and eosin.
Results
Fgfr1 was expressed in ectoderm, lateral plate mesoderm, and myoblasts, whereas Fgfr2 was expressed almost exclusively in the early dermis and ectoderm of the abdominal wall. Conditional mutation of both Fgfr2 alleles and one Fgfr1 allele resulted in omphalocele in 38.7% of mutants. Histologic examination in mutants demonstrated disruptions in dermal and muscle development.
Conclusions
Mutant embryos with omphalocele arising from mutation in Fgfr1 and Fgfr2 exhibit disruptions in the development of the secondary abdominal wall structures. These findings are consistent with a model of ventral abdominal wall development in which organization of the muscles and connective tissue (secondary abdominal wall structures) is influenced by positional information emanating from the primary abdominal wall.
doi:10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2010.09.066
PMCID: PMC3979308  PMID: 21238647
Omphalocele; Fgf receptors; Mutation; Mouse; Model; Patterning

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