20 November 2019

Naïve human pluripotent stem cells respond to Wnt, Nodal, and LIF signalling to produce expandable naïve extra-embryonic endoderm

Naïve Pluripotency

New study by the Brickman Group at DanStem: Exploiting naïve human embryonic stem cells, we generate an in vitro model for primitive endoderm, or hypoblast, its expansion, and demonstrate a conserved role for FGF/ERK signalling in its induction. 

Madeleine Linneberg-Agerholm1,#, Yan Fung Wong1,# , Jose Alejandro Romero Herrera1, Rita S. Monteiro1, Kathryn G. V. Anderson1, and Joshua M. Brickman1 (# These authors contributed equally to this manuscript ).

Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) exist in at least two states that transcriptionally resemble different stages of embryonic development. Naïve ESCs resemble peri-implantation stages and primed ESCs the pre-gastrulation epiblast. In mouse, primed ESCs give rise to definitive endoderm in response to the pathways downstream of Nodal and Wnt signalling. However, when these pathways are activated in naïve ESCs, they differentiate to a cell type resembling early primitive endoderm (PrE), the blastocyst stage progenitor of the extra-embryonic endoderm. Here, we apply this context dependency to human ESCs, showing that activation of Nodal and Wnt signalling drives the differentiation of naïve pluripotent cells toward extra-embryonic PrE, or hypoblast, and these can be expanded as an in vitro model for naïve extra-embryonic endoderm (nEnd). Consistent with observations made in mouse, human PrE differentiation is dependent on FGF signalling in vitro, and we show, that by inhibiting FGF receptor signalling, we can simplify naïve pluripotent culture conditions, such that the inhibitor requirements closer resemble those used in mouse. The expandable nEnd cultures reported here represent stable extra-embryonic endoderm, or human hypoblast, cell lines.

Published by The Company of Biologists, a not for profit publishing organisation dedicated to supporting and inspiring the biological community.

Link to the paper

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