Gastruloid-derived primordial germ cell-like cells develop dynamically within integrated tissues

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Primordial Germ Cells (PGCs) are the early embryonic precursors of gametes - sperm and egg cells. PGC-like cells (PGCLCs) can currently be derived in vitro from pluripotent cells exposed to signalling cocktails and aggregated into large embryonic bodies, but these do not recapitulate the native embryonic environment during PGC formation. Here we show that mouse gastruloids, a three-dimensional in vitro model of gastrulation, contain a population of Gastruloid-derived PGC-like cells (Gld-PGCLCs) that resemble early PGCs in vivo. Importantly, the conserved organisation of mouse gastruloids leads to coordinated spatial and temporal localisation of Gld-PGCLCs relative to surrounding somatic cells, even in the absence of specific exogenous PGC-specific signalling or extraembryonic tissues. In gastruloids, self-organised interactions between cells and tissues, including the endodermal epithelium, enables the specification and subsequent maturation of a pool of Gld-PGCLCs. As such, mouse gastruloids represent a new source of PGCLCs in vitro and, due to their inherent co-development, serve as a novel model to study the dynamics of PGC development within integrated tissue environments.

Journal details

Journal Development
Volume 150
Issue number 17
Pages dev201790
Available online
Publication date