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Mice with a targeted disruption of the Fgfrl1 gene die at birth due to alterations in the diaphragm

Baertschi, Stefan, Zhuang, Lei, Trueb, Beat
FEBS journal 2007 v.274 no.23 pp. 6241-6253
cell culture, diaphragm, fibroblast growth factor receptors, genes, lungs, mice, muscle fibers, myoblasts, myotubes, skeletal muscle, tyrosine
FGFRL1 is a recently discovered member of the fibroblast growth factor receptor family that is lacking the intracellular tyrosine kinase domain. To elucidate the function of the novel receptor, we created mice with a targeted disruption of the Fgfrl1 gene. These mice develop normally until term, but die within a few minutes after birth due to respiratory failure. The respiratory problems are explained by a significant reduction in the size of the diaphragm muscle, which is not sufficient to inflate the lungs after birth. The remaining portion of the diaphragm muscle appears to be well developed and innervated. It consists of differentiated myofibers with nuclei at the periphery. Fast and slow muscle fibers occur in normal proportions. The myogenic regulatory factors MyoD, Myf5, myogenin and Mrf4 and the myocyte enhancer factors Mef2A, Mef2B, Mef2C and Mef2D are expressed at normal levels. Experiments with a cell culture model involving C2C12 myoblasts show that Fgfrl1 is expressed during the late stages of myotube formation. Other skeletal muscles do not appear to be affected in the Fgfrl1 deficient mice. Thus, Fgfrl1 plays a critical role in the development of the diaphragm.