What can we learn from FGF-2 isoform-specific mouse mutants? : Differential insights into FGF-2 physiology In vivo
Fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2), ubiquitously expressed in humans and mice, is functionally involved in cell growth, migration and maturation in vitro and in vivo. Based on the same mRNA, an 18-kilo Dalton (kDa) FGF-2 isoform named FGF-2 low molecular weight (FGF-2LMW) isoform is translated in humans and rodents. Additionally, two larger isoforms weighing 21 and 22 kDa also exist, summarized as the FGF-2 high molecular weight (FGF-2HMW) isoform. Meanwhile, the human FGF-2HMW comprises a 22, 23, 24 and 34 kDa protein. Independent studies verified a specific intracellular localization, mode of action and tissue-specific spatiotemporal expression of the FGF-2 isoforms, increasing the complexity of their physiological and pathophysiological roles. In order to analyze their spectrum of effects, FGF-2LMW knock out (ko) and FGF-2HMWko mice have been generated, as well as mice specifically overexpressing either FGF-2LMW or FGF-2HMW. So far, the development and functionality of the cardiovascular system, bone formation and regeneration as well as their impact on the central nervous system including disease models of neurodegeneration, have been examined. This review provides a summary of the studies characterizing the in vivo effects modulated by the FGF-2 isoforms and, thus, offers a comprehensive overview of its actions in the aforementioned organ systems.