Mapping developmental paths of monkey primordial germ-like cells differentiation from pluripotent stem cells by single cell ribonucleic acid sequencing analysis†

Biol Reprod. 2022 Jul 25;107(1):237-249. doi: 10.1093/biolre/ioac133.


The induction of primordial germ-like cells (PGCLCs) from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) provides a powerful system to study the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying germline specification, which are difficult to study in vivo. The studies reveal the existence of a species-specific mechanism underlying PGCLCs between humans and mice, highlighting the necessity to study regulatory networks in more species, especially in primates. Harnessing the power of single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) analysis, the detailed trajectory of human PGCLCs specification in vitro has been achieved. However, the study of nonhuman primates is still needed. Here, we applied an embryoid body (EB) differentiation system to induce PGCLCs specification from cynomolgus monkey male and female PSCs, and then performed high throughput scRNA-seq analysis of approximately 40 000 PSCs and cells within EBs. We found that EBs provided a niche for PGCLCs differentiation by secreting growth factors critical for PGCLC specification, such as bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2), BMP4, and Wnt Family Member 3. Moreover, the developmental trajectory of PGCLCs was reconstituted, and gene expression dynamics were revealed. Our study outlines the roadmap of PGCLC specification from PSCs and provides insights that will improve the differentiation efficiency of PGCLCs from PSCs.

Keywords: cynomolgus monkey; developmental trajectory; pluripotent stem cells; primordial stem cells; single-cell RNA sequencing analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Female
  • Germ Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Macaca fascicularis / genetics
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells*
  • RNA / metabolism
  • Single-Cell Analysis*


  • RNA