A single mouse blastomere from an embryo until the 8-cell stage can generate an entire blastocyst. Whether laboratory-cultured cells retain a similar generative capacity remains unknown. Starting from a single stem cell type, extended pluripotent stem (EPS) cells, we established a 3D differentiation system that enabled the generation of blastocyst-like structures (EPS-blastoids) through lineage segregation and self-organization. EPS-blastoids resembled blastocysts in morphology and cell-lineage allocation and recapitulated key morphogenetic events during preimplantation and early postimplantation development in vitro. Upon transfer, some EPS-blastoids underwent implantation, induced decidualization, and generated live, albeit disorganized, tissues in utero. Single-cell and bulk RNA-sequencing analysis revealed that EPS-blastoids contained all three blastocyst cell lineages and shared transcriptional similarity with natural blastocysts. We also provide proof of concept that EPS-blastoids can be generated from adult cells via cellular reprogramming. EPS-blastoids provide a unique platform for studying early embryogenesis and pave the way to creating viable synthetic embryos by using cultured cells.
Keywords: EPS cells; EPS-blastoid; blastocyst; blastoids; extended pluripotent stem cells; implantation; reprogramming; totipotent.
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