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Heavy News! KUST's Professors and Students Published Research Article in Science

On October 31st, the top international magazine SCIENCE published online a high-level research article Dissecting primate early post-implantation development using long-term in vitro embryo culture co-authored by professors and students from KUST, Shenzhen Huada Gene Research Institute (BGI) and Salk Institute of the United States. Prof. TAN Tao and Prof. NIU Yuyu of KUST, CAS Academician JI Weizhi, another KUST professor, and Professor Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte of Salk Institute of the United States are the co-corresponding author of the article.  With  KUST being  the first unit to complete the thesis, SUN Nianqin, PhD student of Tan Tao's research group of KUST, LI Chang, master's student of KUST, and LEI Ying, a PhD of BGI, are the co-authors of the article. The publication of the paper indicates another breakthrough achieved by KUST following the papers published in top international journals such as Cell and Nature.



This research is the first one using vitro systems to analyze important molecular and cell biology events after the implantation of primate embryos, especially during the period of gastrulation. The research results are helpful to deepen people's understanding of early post-implantation development of embryo, and have important guiding significance for cell replacement therapy and organ regeneration research.



Early post-implantation development of primate embryos is a milestone event in mammal development, while embryo development research on this stage is still unclear. Abnormal development at this stage will not only lead to embryo abortion but also have a profound impact on the growth and development of the whole individual in the future. Research on cellular and molecular biological events of embryonic development after early implantation is extremely important for the prevention and treatment of infertility and early developmental diseases. In recent years, with the continuous optimization of in vitro fertilization and embryo culture system, great progress has been made in the study of primate preimplantation embryos, which answered such basic scientific questions as cell pluripotency acquisition and cell lineage differentiation.  Many problems, however, such as pluripotent withdrawal, differentiation of the three germ layers lineage and morphogenesis of primate embryo cells after implantation remain unsolved. Due to the limitations of experimental materials and work ethics, it is almost impossible to carry out research on human embryo development after implantation. Further development in this field calls for innovative technological breakthroughs. In 2016, Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz from Cambridge University in England and Ali H. Brivanlou Rockefeller University in the United States jointly established a delayed embryo culture in vitro, breaking through the bottleneck of this research. In 2019, Professor TANG Fuchiu of Peking University and Professor QIAO Jie laboratory, Third Hospital of Peking University, applied this technology in the laboratories, combined with unicellular polyomics technology, to reveal the networks of gene expression regulation and the Dynamic variation of DNA methylation in human embryo development after early implantation. Due to the limitation of the 14-day rule, the above-mentioned work stopped at 14 days after fertilization. Such scientific questions as differentiation of three germ layers, intercellular interaction, specialization of primordial germ cells etc., which are important basic scientific issues concerned by this field, have yet been answered.



Although the early embryonic development of primates is highly similar to that of human beings, it is still difficult to carry out research on the embryonic development of primates after implantation, which costs a lot of manpower and material resources. In order to further explore the molecular mechanism of primate embryo development after implantation, the research team cultured cynomolgus monkey embryos in vitro for 20 days, which showed morphological and gene expression characteristics being highly consistent with those of embryos developed in vivo. Combining embryo-based in vitro culture system and single cell multi-group sequencing technology, the research team sequenced the embryos cultured in vitro after fertilizing 9 days. Through the analysis of cell lineage and molecular trajectory changes, researchers systematically studied the dynamic change process of pluripotency of epithelial epiblast cells, revealing the role of oxidative phosphorylation pathway in naive pluripotency maintenance. The single cell transcriptome data of the trophoblastic lineage showed the differentiation path of the trophoblastic lineage, and showed that the trophoblast stem cell marker CDX2, a recognized trophoblast stem cell in mice, cannot be maintained during the early embryonic development of primates, thus providing new insights into the primate trophoblast development. The research findings also reveal the interaction between different cell lineages in primate embryo development after implantation, providing new ideas for further understanding the important role of the niche of embryo development after implantation. More importantly, it reveals that amniotic epithelium is the potential source of primordial germ cells, not excluding epiblast as the source. Although further research is needed to confirm it, the current research results provide new insights into the early origin of primate PGC.

Link in Science:



Translated by: LUO Man, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Cultures

Edited by: WANG Ying, School of International Education

Issued by: Division of Overseas Cooperation (English)

Source: Academy of Science and Technology, Institute of Primate Translational Medicine, Faculty of Life Science and Technology

Edited by: KUST News Center (Chinese)