When a tubular structure forms during early embryogenesis, tubular elongation and lumen formation (epithelialization) proceed simultaneously in a spatiotemporally coordinated manner. We here demonstrate, using theWolffian duct (WD) of early chicken embryos, that this coordination is regulated by the expression of FGF8, which shifts posteriorly during body axis elongation. FGF8 acts as a chemoattractant on the leader cells of the elongating WD and prevents them from epithelialization, whereas static (‘rear’) cells that receive progressively less FGF8 undergo epithelialization to form a lumen. Thus, FGF8 acts as a binary switch that distinguishes tubular elongation from lumen formation. The posteriorly shifting FGF8 is also known to regulate somite segmentation, suggesting that multiple types of tissue morphogenesis are coordinately regulated by macroscopic changes in body growth.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Developmental Biology