Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 70, Issue 14, pp 2505–2518 | Cite as

Role of FGFRL1 and other FGF signaling proteins in early kidney development

  • Beat TruebEmail author
  • Ruth Amann
  • Simon D. Gerber


The mammalian kidney develops from the ureteric bud and the metanephric mesenchyme. In mice, the ureteric bud invades the metanephric mesenchyme at day E10.5 and begins to branch. The tips of the ureteric bud induce the metanephric mesenchyme to condense and form the cap mesenchyme. Some cells of this cap mesenchyme undergo a mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition and differentiate into renal vesicles, which further develop into nephrons. The developing kidney expresses Fibroblast growth factor (Fgf)1, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 and 20 and Fgf receptors Fgfr1 and Fgfr2. Fgf7 and Fgf10, mainly secreted by the metanephric mesenchyme, bind to Fgfr2b of the ureteric bud and induce branching. Fgfr1 and Fgfr2c are required for formation of the metanephric mesenchyme, however the two receptors can substitute for one another. Fgf8, secreted by renal vesicles, binds to Fgfr1 and supports survival of cells in the nascent nephrons. Fgf9 and Fgf20, expressed in the metanephric mesenchyme, are necessary to maintain survival of progenitor cells in the cortical region of the kidney. FgfrL1 is a novel member of the Fgfr family that lacks the intracellular tyrosine kinase domain. It is expressed in the ureteric bud and all nephrogenic structures. Targeted deletion of FgfrL1 leads to severe kidney dysgenesis due to the lack of renal vesicles. FgfrL1 is known to interact mainly with Fgf8. It is therefore conceivable that FgfrL1 restricts signaling of Fgf8 to the precise location of the nascent nephrons. It might also promote tight adhesion of cells in the condensed metanephric mesenchyme as required for the mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition.


Kidney development Metanephric mesenchyme Ureteric bud Fibroblast growth factor (Fgf) Fibroblast growth factor receptor (Fgfr) FgfrL1 



Research in the laboratory of the authors was supported by grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation (31003A-143350), from the Helmut Horten Foundation and from the Swiss Foundation for Research on Muscular Diseases.


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© Springer Basel 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical ResearchUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

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