The making of an epithelium: an stem cell perspective – Biologisk Institut - Københavns Universitet

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The making of an epithelium: an stem cell perspective

Speaker: Dr. Marta Shahbazi, University of Cambridge

During mammalian development, complex transcriptional networks drive cell fate specification events and tissue-scale reorganizations to form different cell and tissue types. The first morphogenetic reorganization of the embryonic stem cells, known as epiblast, takes place at the time of embryo implantation into the uterus. However, our knowledge of mammalian development at implantation is very scarce due to technical and ethical limitations. To overcome these hurdles, we have recently established an in vitro culture method that allows human embryos to develop beyond implantation in vitro. Moreover, we can mimic critical early post-implantation events using 3D cultures of stem cells. These novel methods represent ideal experimental models to decipher the complex interplay stem cell identity and embryonic morphogenesis. For example, we have recently identified that a pluripotent-state transition directs the transformation of the mouse and human epiblast into an epithelial tissue. Our results provide the first molecular link between the pluripotency network and the 3D tissue architecture, and exemplify the complex interplay between different scales of organization.