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Spatial profiling of early primate gastrulation in utero

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Gastrulation controls the emergence of cellular diversity and axis patterning in the early embryo. In mammals, this transformation is orchestrated by dynamic signalling centres at the interface of embryonic and extraembryonic tissues1–3. Elucidating the molecular framework of axis formation in vivo is fundamental for our understanding of human development4–6 and to advance stem-cell-based regenerative approaches7. Here, we illuminate early gastrulation of marmoset embryos in utero by spatial transcriptomics and stem cell-based embryo models. Gaussian process regression-based 3D-transcriptomes delineate the emergence of the anterior visceral endoderm, which is hallmarked by conserved (HHEX, LEFTY2, LHX1) and primate-specific (POSTN, SDC4, FZD5) factors. WNT signalling spatially coordinates primitive streak formation in the embryonic disc and is counteracted by SFRP1/2 to sustain pluripotency in the anterior domain. Amnion specification occurs at the boundaries of the embryonic disc through ID1/2/3 in response to BMP-signalling, providing a developmental rationale for amnion differentiation of primate pluripotent stem cells (PSCs). Spatial identity mapping demonstrates that primed marmoset PSCs exhibit highest similarity to the anterior embryonic disc, while naïve PSCs resemble the preimplantation epiblast. Our 3D-transcriptome models reveal the molecular code of lineage specification in the primate embryo and provide an in vivo reference to decipher human development.

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Correspondence to Thorsten E. Boroviak.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

This file contains Supplementary Figures 1-12.

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Supplementary Table 1

Supplementary Table 2

Supplementary Table 3

Supplementary Video 1

Overview of virtual embryo reconstruction, zygote to gastrulation.

Supplementary Video 2

Virtual reconstruction of Carnegie stage 5 embryo.

Supplementary Video 3

Virtual reconstruction of Carnegie stage 6 (late) embryo.

Supplementary Video 4

Virtual reconstruction of Carnegie stage 7 embryo.

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Bergmann, S., Penfold, C.A., Slatery, E. et al. Spatial profiling of early primate gastrulation in utero. Nature (2022).

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