FGF signaling directs myotube guidance by regulating Rac activity

Shuo Yang, Allison Weske, Yingqiu Du, Juliana M. Valera, Kenneth L. Jones, Aaron N. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Nascent myotubes undergo a dramatic morphological transformation during myogenesis, in which the myotubes elongate over several cell diameters and are directed to the correct muscle attachment sites. Although this process of myotube guidance is essential to pattern the musculoskeletal system, the mechanisms that control myotube guidance remain poorly understood. Using transcriptomics, we found that components of the Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF) signaling pathway were enriched in nascent myotubes in Drosophila embryos. Nullmutations in the FGF receptor heartless (htl), or its ligands, caused significant myotube guidance defects. The FGF ligand Pyramus is expressed broadly in the ectoderm, and ectopic Pyramus expression disrupted muscle patterning. Mechanistically, Htl regulates the activity of Rho/Rac GTPases in nascent myotubes and effects changes in the actin cytoskeleton. FGF signals are thus essential regulators of myotube guidance that act through cytoskeletal regulatory proteins to pattern the musculoskeletal system.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdev183624
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020


  • Actin cytoskeleton
  • Drosophila embryogenesis
  • FGF signaling
  • Heartless
  • Myogenesis
  • Myotube guidance
  • Organogenesis
  • Rho GTPase


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