ES cell-derived presomitic mesoderm-like tissues for analysis of synchronized oscillations in the segmentation clock

Development. 2018 Feb 14;145(4):dev156836. doi: 10.1242/dev.156836.


Somites are periodically formed by segmentation of the anterior parts of the presomitic mesoderm (PSM). In the mouse embryo, this periodicity is controlled by the segmentation clock gene Hes7, which exhibits wave-like oscillatory expression in the PSM. Despite intensive studies, the exact mechanism of such synchronous oscillatory dynamics of Hes7 expression still remains to be analyzed. Detailed analysis of the segmentation clock has been hampered because it requires the use of live embryos, and establishment of an in vitro culture system would facilitate such analyses. Here, we established a simple and efficient method to generate mouse ES cell-derived PSM-like tissues, in which Hes7 expression oscillates like traveling waves. In these tissues, Hes7 oscillation is synchronized between neighboring cells, and the posterior-anterior axis is self-organized as the central-peripheral axis. This method is applicable to chemical-library screening and will facilitate the analysis of the molecular nature of the segmentation clock.

Keywords: Chemical library screening; Embryonic stem cell; Induced presomitic mesoderm; Segmentation clock; Self-organization; Synchronized oscillation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Biological Clocks
  • Body Patterning / genetics*
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Mesoderm / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Signal Transduction
  • Somites / metabolism*


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Hes7 protein, mouse