Neuron-derived FGF9 is essential for scaffold formation of Bergmann radial fibers and migration of granule neurons in the cerebellum

Yongshun Lin, Lijie Chen, Chunhong Lin, Yongde Luo, Robert Y.L. Tsai, Fen Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Although fibroblast growth factor 9 (FGF9) is widely expressed in the central nervous system (CNS), the function of FGF9 in neural development remains undefined. To address this question, we deleted the Fgf9 gene specifically in the neural tube and demonstrated that FGF9 plays a key role in the postnatal migration of cerebellar granule neurons. Fgf9-null mice showed severe ataxia associated with disrupted Bergmann fiber scaffold formation, impaired granule neuron migration, and upset Purkinje cell maturation. Ex vivo cultured wildtype or Fgf9-null glia displayed a stellate morphology. Coculture with wildtype neurons, but not Fgf9-deficient neurons, or treating with FGF1 or FGF9 induced the cells to adopt a radial glial morphology. In situ hybridization showed that Fgf9 was expressed in neurons and immunostaining revealed that FGF9 was broadly distributed in both neurons and Bergmann glial radial fibers. Genetic analyses revealed that the FGF9 activities in cerebellar development are primarily transduced by FGF receptors 1 and 2. Furthermore, inhibition of the MAP kinase pathway, but not the PI3K/AKT pathway, abrogated the FGF activity to induce glial morphological changes, suggesting that the activity is mediated by the MAP kinase pathway. This work demonstrates that granule neurons secrete FGF9 to control formation of the Bergmann fiber scaffold, which in turn, guides their own inward migration and maturation of Purkinje cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-54
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2009


  • Bergmann glia
  • Cerebellum development
  • Conditional knockout
  • Fibroblast growth factor
  • Granule neuron
  • Mouse model
  • Receptor tyrosine kinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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