Loss of FGF signaling leads to defects in salivary gland branching, but the mechanisms underlying this phenotype remain largely unknown. We disrupted expression of Fgfr1 and Fgfr2 in salivary gland epithelial cells and found that both receptors function coordinately in regulating branching. Strikingly, branching morphogenesis in double knockouts is restored by Fgfr1 and Fgfr2 (Fgfr1/2) knock-in alleles incapable of engaging canonical RTK signaling, suggesting that additional FGF-dependent mechanisms play a role in salivary gland branching. Fgfr1/2 conditional null mutants showed defective cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion, both of which have been shown to play instructive roles in salivary gland branching. Loss of FGF signaling led to disordered cell-basement membrane interactions in vivo as well as in organ culture. This was partially restored upon introducing Fgfr1/2 wild-type or signaling alleles that are incapable of eliciting canonical intracellular signaling. Together, our results identify non-canonical FGF signaling mechanisms that regulate branching morphogenesis through cell-adhesion processes.

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