Research press release




哺乳類の卵は、受精してから数日で胚盤胞に成長する。胚盤胞は、球状構造で、胚細胞の塊を含み、液体で満たされているくぼみとそれを取り囲む外側の細胞層からできている。過去の研究では、この外側の細胞層と胚細胞の両方から幹細胞株が得られたが、今回、Nicolas Rivronたちの研究グループは、この2種類の細胞がin vitroで相互作用して、胚盤胞に似た構造(「ブラストイド;blastoid」と名付けた)を形成することを明らかにした。


Structures that resemble early embryos have been developed in a dish from mouse stem cells, reports a paper published in this week’s Nature. When transferred in utero, the cell spheres trigger remodelling events similar to those seen at the moment of implantation on the uterine wall. Although they do not develop into mature embryos, they provide researchers with a cell-culture model of early development and shed light on key processes that underpin this pivotal period of life.

A few days after a mammalian egg has been fertilized, it develops into a blastocyst. This is a spherical structure made up of an external cell layer surrounding a fluid-filled cavity that contains a mass of embryonic cells. Stem-cell cell lines have been obtained from both the external layer and from embryonic cells before, but Nicolas Rivron and colleagues show that both cell types can interact in vitro to form blastocyst-like structures they call ‘blastoids’.

The blastoids are similar in shape to a 3.5-day-old blastocyst, and display similar patterns of gene activity. Like blastocysts, they form when signals emanating from the inner mass of embryonic stem cells induce the development of the external cell layer. In normal development, this external layer would go on to form the placenta, so the researchers hope that their model will help us to understand how the placenta forms and how the embryo implants into the lining of the uterus.

doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0051-0

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