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Background: During vertebrate embryogenesis, somites are generated at regular intervals, the temporal and spatial periodicity of which is governed by a gradient of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) and/or Wnt signaling activity in the presomitic mesoderm (PSM) in conjunction with oscillations of gene expression of components of the Notch, Wnt and FGF signaling pathways.
Principal Findings: Here, we show that the expression of Sprouty4, which encodes an FGF inhibitor, oscillates in 2-h cycles in the mouse PSM in synchrony with other oscillating genes from the Notch signaling pathway, such as lunatic fringe. Sprouty4 does not oscillate in Hes7-null mutant mouse embryos, and Hes7 can inhibit FGF-induced transcriptional activity of the Sprouty4 promoter.
Conclusions: Thus, periodic expression of Sprouty4 is controlled by the Notch segmentation clock and may work as a mediator that links the temporal periodicity of clock gene oscillations with the spatial periodicity of boundary formation which is regulated by the gradient of FGF/Wnt activity.