Fibroblast growth factor homologous factors (FHFs) have been implicated in limb and nervous system development. In this paper we describe the expression of the cFHF-4 gene during chicken craniofacial development. cFHF-4 is expressed in the mesenchyme of the frontonasal process, and in the mesenchyme and ectoderm of the mandibular processes. The expression of cFHF-4 and other genes implicated in facial patterning have been analyzed in talpid(2) embryos or in the presence of exogenous retinoic acid. Talpid(2) mutants show abnormal patterns of gene expression, including up-regulation of cFHF-4 in the developing face, which correlate with defects in cartilage formation. By contrast, expression of cFHF-4 in the developing face is strongly downregulated by teratogenic doses of all-trans retinoic acid in a dose-dependent manner. Low levels of retinoic acid that produce distal upper beak truncations do not affect cShh, c-Patched-1, or c-Bmp-2 expression in the face, but downregulate cFHF-4 in the frontonasal process.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.