Early developmental plasticity enables the induction of an intermediate extraembryonic cell state

Sci Adv. 2022 Nov 4;8(44):eabl9583. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abl9583. Epub 2022 Nov 4.


Two fundamental elements of pre-implantation embryogenesis are cells' intrinsic self-organization program and their developmental plasticity, which allows embryos to compensate for alterations in cell position and number; yet, these elements are still poorly understood. To be able to decipher these features, we established culture conditions that enable the two fates of blastocysts' extraembryonic lineages-the primitive endoderm and the trophectoderm-to coexist. This plasticity emerges following the mechanisms of the first lineage segregation in the mouse embryo, and it manifests as an extended potential for extraembryonic chimerism during the pre-implantation embryogenesis. Moreover, this shared state enables robust assembly into higher-order blastocyst-like structures, thus combining both the cell fate plasticity and self-organization features of the early extraembryonic lineages.