Cell-intrinsic Fgf signaling contributes to primordial germ cell homing in zebrafish

Chia Teng Chang, Yen Hua Lee, Wei Chun HuangFu, I. Hsuan Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Primordial germ cells (PGCs) are specified before gastrulation and migrate toward the developing gonads. Previous in vitro studies have demonstrated a cell-intrinsic requirement of fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) by PGCs; however, no evidence suggests FGFs signal directly to PGCs in vivo. Here, using zebrafish as the animal model, we identified the mRNA expressions of Fgf receptors (Fgfrs) and determined the roles of Fgf signaling in migrating PGCs. To clarify the functions of Fgf signaling, we manipulated Fgf signaling specifically in PGCs using dominant-negative (dn) and constitutively-active (ca) Fgfrs and revealed a requirement of a basal Fgf signaling level for the robust arrival of PGCs. Repression of Fgf signaling in PGCs swayed the marginal positioning of PGCs as early as 6 h post-fertilization (6 hpf) and disrupted their arrival at the gonadal ridge at 24 hpf. On the other hand, the ectopic PGC phenotypes caused by the dn-Fgfrs could be alleviated by constitutive activation of Fgf signaling. In addition, we carefully ruled out the somatic effects in mosaic embryos by injecting RNA materials into one blastomere of the four- or eight-cell stage embryos. Injection of dn-Fgfrs into one of eight blastomeres hampered the arrival of only the treated PGCs, while the other PGCs remained unaffected. Furthermore, mosaic treatment of ca-Fgfrs rescued the ectopic rates of dn-Fgfr treated PGCs, while the other PGCs remained more ectopic within the same embryos. Interestingly, PGC-specific repression of Fgf signaling did not compromise the PGC number. To our knowledge, this is the first in vivo evidence to show that Fgf signaling plays a cell-intrinsic role in the migration of vertebrate PGCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-431
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2020


  • Cell movement
  • Embryonic development
  • Fibroblast growth factors
  • Germ cells
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals
  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Equine


Dive into the research topics of 'Cell-intrinsic Fgf signaling contributes to primordial germ cell homing in zebrafish'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this