Lumen Formation Is an Intrinsic Property of Isolated Human Pluripotent Stem Cells

Stem Cell Reports. 2015 Dec 8;5(6):954-962. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2015.10.015. Epub 2015 Nov 25.


We demonstrate that dissociated human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) are intrinsically programmed to form lumens. PSCs form two-cell cysts with a shared apical domain within 20 hr of plating; these cysts collapse to form monolayers after 5 days. Expression of pluripotency markers is maintained throughout this time. In two-cell cysts, an apical domain, marked by EZRIN and atypical PKCζ, is surrounded by apically targeted organelles (early endosomes and Golgi). Molecularly, actin polymerization, regulated by ARP2/3 and mammalian diaphanous-related formin 1 (MDIA), promotes lumen formation, whereas actin contraction, mediated by MYOSIN-II, inhibits this process. Finally, we show that lumenal shape can be manipulated in bioengineered micro-wells. Since lumen formation is an indispensable step in early mammalian development, this system can provide a powerful model for investigation of this process in a controlled environment. Overall, our data establish that lumenogenesis is a fundamental cell biological property of human PSCs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Actins / ultrastructure
  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Separation
  • Cell Shape
  • Dogs
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / ultrastructure


  • Actins