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Modeling mammalian trunk development in a dish

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Veenvliet,  Jesse V.
Dept. of Developmental Genetics (Head: Bernhard G. Herrmann), Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Herrmann,  Bernhard G.
Dept. of Developmental Genetics (Head: Bernhard G. Herrmann), Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Veenvliet, J. V., & Herrmann, B. G. (2021). Modeling mammalian trunk development in a dish. Developmental Biology, 474, 5-15. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2020.12.015.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-7A08-7
Abstract
Mammalian post-implantation development comprises the coordination of complex lineage decisions and morphogenetic processes shaping the embryo. Despite technological advances, a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of these processes and of the self-organization capabilities of stem cells and their descendants remains elusive. Building synthetic embryo-like structures from pluripotent embryonic stem cells in vitro promises to fill these knowledge gaps and thereby may prove transformative for developmental biology. Initial efforts to model the post-implantation embryo resulted in structures with compromised morphology (gastruloids). Recent approaches employing modified culture media, an extracellular matrix surrogate or extra-embryonic stem cells, however, succeeded in establishing embryo-like architecture. For example, embedding of gastruloids in Matrigel unlocked self-organization into trunk-like structures with bilateral somites and a neural tube-like structure, together with gut tissue and primordial germ cell-like cells. In this review, we describe the currently available models, discuss how these can be employed to acquire novel biological insights, and detail the imminent challenges for improving current models by in vitro engineering.