Fibroblast growth factor receptor signaling is essential for lens fiber cell differentiation

Haotian Zhao, Tianyu Yang, Bhavani P. Madakashira, Cornelius A. Thiels, Chad A. Bechtle, Claudia M. Garcia, Huiming Zhang, Kai Yu, David M. Ornitz, David C. Beebe, Michael L. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


The vertebrate lens provides an excellent model to study the mechanisms that regulate terminal differentiation. Although fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) are thought to be important for lens cell differentiation, it is unclear which FGF receptors mediate these processes during different stages of lens development. Deletion of three FGF receptors (Fgfr1-3) early in lens development demonstrated that expression of only a single allele of Fgfr2 or Fgfr3 was sufficient for grossly normal lens development, while mice possessing only a single Fgfr1 allele developed cataracts and microphthalmia. Profound defects were observed in lenses lacking all three Fgfrs. These included lack of fiber cell elongation, abnormal proliferation in prospective lens fiber cells, reduced expression of the cell cycle inhibitors p27kip1 and p57kip2, increased apoptosis and aberrant or reduced expression of Prox1, Pax6, c-Maf, E-cadherin and α-, β- and γ-crystallins. Therefore, while signaling by FGF receptors is essential for lens fiber differentiation, different FGF receptors function redundantly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-288
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 15 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Cell cycle
  • Conditional knockout
  • FGF receptor
  • Lens development
  • Lens fiber differentiation
  • Redundancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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