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FGF signaling controls Shh-dependent oligodendroglial fate specification in the ventral spinal cord.
Neural Development  (IF3.842),  Pub Date : 2018-03-08, DOI: 10.1186/s13064-018-0100-2
Marie-Amélie Farreny,Eric Agius,Sophie Bel-Vialar,Nathalie Escalas,Nagham Khouri-Farah,Chadi Soukkarieh,Cathy Danesin,Fabienne Pituello,Philippe Cochard,Cathy Soula

BACKGROUND Most oligodendrocytes of the spinal cord originate from ventral progenitor cells of the pMN domain, characterized by expression of the transcription factor Olig2. A minority of oligodendrocytes is also recognized to emerge from dorsal progenitors during fetal development. The prevailing view is that generation of ventral oligodendrocytes depends on Sonic hedgehog (Shh) while dorsal oligodendrocytes develop under the influence of Fibroblast Growth Factors (FGFs). RESULTS Using the well-established model of the chicken embryo, we show that ventral spinal progenitor cells activate FGF signaling at the onset of oligodendrocyte precursor cell (OPC) generation. Inhibition of FGF receptors at that time appears sufficient to prevent generation of ventral OPCs, highlighting that, in addition to Shh, FGF signaling is required also for generation of ventral OPCs. We further reveal an unsuspected interplay between Shh and FGF signaling by showing that FGFs serve dual essential functions in ventral OPC specification. FGFs are responsible for timely induction of a secondary Shh signaling center, the lateral floor plate, a crucial step to create the burst of Shh required for OPC specification. At the same time, FGFs prevent down-regulation of Olig2 in pMN progenitor cells as these cells receive higher threshold of the Shh signal. Finally, we bring arguments favoring a key role of newly differentiated neurons acting as providers of the FGF signal required to trigger OPC generation in the ventral spinal cord. CONCLUSION Altogether our data reveal that the FGF signaling pathway is activated and required for OPC commitment in the ventral spinal cord. More generally, our data may prove important in defining strategies to produce large populations of determined oligodendrocyte precursor cells from undetermined neural progenitors, including stem cells. In the long run, these new data could be useful in attempts to stimulate the oligodendrocyte fate in residing neural stem cells.