Articles by Peter Baillie-Johnson in JoVE
Generation of Aggregates of Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells that Show Symmetry Breaking, Polarization and Emergent Collective Behaviour In Vitro Peter Baillie-Johnson1, Susanne Carina van den Brink1,2, Tina Balayo1, David Andrew Turner1, Alfonso Martinez Arias1 1Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge, 2Hubrecht Institute, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences We have developed a protocol to generate aggregates of mouse embryonic stem cells that display self-organization, symmetry breaking and elongation paralleling axial development. This technique allows the study of axial developmental processes and the generation of cell types that are otherwise difficult to perform in monolayer culture.
Other articles by Peter Baillie-Johnson on PubMed
Symmetry Breaking, Germ Layer Specification and Axial Organisation in Aggregates of Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells Development (Cambridge, England). Nov, 2014 | Pubmed ID: 25371360 Mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) are clonal populations derived from preimplantation mouse embryos that can be propagated in vitro and, when placed into blastocysts, contribute to all tissues of the embryo and integrate into the normal morphogenetic processes, i.e. they are pluripotent. However, although they can be steered to differentiate in vitro into all cell types of the organism, they cannot organise themselves into structures that resemble embryos. When aggregated into embryoid bodies they develop disorganised masses of different cell types with little spatial coherence. An exception to this rule is the emergence of retinas and anterior cortex-like structures under minimal culture conditions. These structures emerge from the cultures without any axial organisation. Here, we report that small aggregates of mESCs, of about 300 cells, self-organise into polarised structures that exhibit collective behaviours reminiscent of those that cells exhibit in early mouse embryos, including symmetry breaking, axial organisation, germ layer specification and cell behaviour, as well as axis elongation. The responses are signal specific and uncouple processes that in the embryo are tightly associated, such as specification of the anteroposterior axis and anterior neural development, or endoderm specification and axial elongation. We discuss the meaning and implications of these observations and the potential uses of these structures which, because of their behaviour, we suggest to call 'gastruloids'.
Wnt/β-catenin and FGF Signalling Direct the Specification and Maintenance of a Neuromesodermal Axial Progenitor in Ensembles of Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells Development (Cambridge, England). Nov, 2014 | Pubmed ID: 25371361 The development of the central nervous system is known to result from two sequential events. First, an inductive event of the mesoderm on the overlying ectoderm that generates a neural plate that, after rolling into a neural tube, acts as the main source of neural progenitors. Second, the axial regionalization of the neural plate that will result in the specification of neurons with different anteroposterior identities. Although this description of the process applies with ease to amphibians and fish, it is more difficult to confirm in amniote embryos. Here, a specialized population of cells emerges at the end of gastrulation that, under the influence of Wnt and FGF signalling, expands and generates the spinal cord and the paraxial mesoderm. This population is known as the long-term neuromesodermal precursor (NMp). Here, we show that controlled increases of Wnt/β-catenin and FGF signalling during adherent culture differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) generates a population with many of the properties of the NMp. A single-cell analysis of gene expression within this population reveals signatures that are characteristic of stem cell populations. Furthermore, when this activation is triggered in three-dimensional aggregates of mESCs, the population self-organizes macroscopically and undergoes growth and axial elongation that mimics some of the features of the embryonic spinal cord and paraxial mesoderm. We use both adherent and three-dimensional cultures of mESCs to probe the establishment and maintenance of NMps and their differentiation.