Maroon, H., Walshe, J., Mahmood, R., Kiefer, P., Dickson, C., and Mason, I. (2002) Fgf3 and Fgf8 are required together for formation of the otic placode and vesicle. Development (Cambridge, England). 129(9):2099-2108.
Fgf3 has long been implicated in otic placode induction and early development of the otocyst; however, the results of experiments in mouse and chick embryos to determine its function have proved to be conflicting. In this study, we determined fgf3 expression in relation to otic development in the zebrafish and used antisense morpholino oligonucleotides to inhibit Fgf3 translation. Successful knockdown of Fgf3 protein was demonstrated and this resulted in a reduction of otocyst size together with reduction in expression of early markers of the otic placode. fgf3 is co-expressed with fgf8 in the hindbrain prior to otic induction and, strikingly, when Fgf3 morpholinos were co-injected together with Fgf8 morpholinos, a significant number of embryos failed to form otocysts. These effects were made manifest at early stages of otic development by an absence of early placode markers (pax2.1 and dlx3) but were not accompanied by effects on cell division or death. The temporal requirement for Fgf signalling was established as being between 60% epiboly and tailbud stages using the Fgf receptor inhibitor SU5402. However, the earliest molecular event in induction of the otic territory, pax8 expression, did not require Fgf signalling, indicating an inductive event upstream of signalling by Fgf3 and Fgf8. We propose that Fgf3 and Fgf8 are required together for formation of the otic placode and act during the earliest stages of its