Neurulation of the cynomolgus monkey embryo achieved from 3D blastocyst culture

Cell. 2023 May 11;186(10):2078-2091.e18. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2023.04.019.


Neural tube (NT) defects arise from abnormal neurulation and result in the most common birth defects worldwide. Yet, mechanisms of primate neurulation remain largely unknown due to prohibitions on human embryo research and limitations of available model systems. Here, we establish a three-dimensional (3D) prolonged in vitro culture (pIVC) system supporting cynomolgus monkey embryo development from 7 to 25 days post-fertilization. Through single-cell multi-omics analyses, we demonstrate that pIVC embryos form three germ layers, including primordial germ cells, and establish proper DNA methylation and chromatin accessibility through advanced gastrulation stages. In addition, pIVC embryo immunofluorescence confirms neural crest formation, NT closure, and neural progenitor regionalization. Finally, we demonstrate that the transcriptional profiles and morphogenetics of pIVC embryos resemble key features of similarly staged in vivo cynomolgus and human embryos. This work therefore describes a system to study non-human primate embryogenesis through advanced gastrulation and early neurulation.

Keywords: cynomolgus monkey; early embryonic development; gastrulation; in vitro culture; neural progenitor regionalization; neural tube closure; neurulation; non-human primate; single-cell multi-omics study; three germ layers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blastocyst
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Embryonic Development
  • Humans
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Neural Tube Defects* / genetics
  • Neural Tube Defects* / pathology
  • Neurulation*
  • Tissue Culture Techniques* / methods