Putting in the Erk: Growth factor signaling and mesoderm morphogenesis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


It has long been known that FGF signaling contributes to mesoderm formation, a germ layer found in triploblasts that is composed of highly migratory cells that give rise to muscles and to the skeletal structures of vertebrates. FGF signaling activates several pathways in the developing mesoderm, including transient activation of the Erk pathway, which triggers mesodermal fate specification through the induction of the gene brachyury and activates morphogenetic programs that allow mesodermal cells to position themselves in the embryo. In this review, we discuss what is known about the generation and interpretation of transient Erk signaling in mesodermal tissues across species. We focus specifically on mechanisms that translate the level and duration of Erk signaling into cell fate and cell movement instructions and discuss strategies for further interrogating the role that Erk signaling dynamics play in mesodermal gastrulation and morphogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCell Signaling Pathways in Development
EditorsPhilippe M. Soriano
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages48
ISBN (Print)9780128170977
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Publication series

NameCurrent Topics in Developmental Biology
ISSN (Print)0070-2153

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology


  • Differentiation
  • Erk
  • Mesoderm
  • Signaling dynamics


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