Sergiu Pasca, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Development (Cambridge, England)
2022; 149 (20)
Deconstructing and then reconstructing developmental processes ex vivo is crucial to understanding how organs assemble and how physiology can be disrupted in disease. Human 3D stem cell-derived systems, such as organoids, have facilitated this pursuit; however, they often do not capture inter-tissue or inter-lineage cellular interactions that give rise to emergent tissue properties during development. Assembloids are self-organizing 3D cellular systems that result from the integration of multiple organoids or the combination of organoids with missing cell types or primary tissue explants. Here, we outline the concept and types of assembloids and present their applications for studying the nervous system and other tissues. We describe tools that are used to probe and manipulate assembloids and delineate current challenges and the potential for this new approach to interrogate development and disease.
View details for DOI 10.1242/dev.201120
View details for PubMedID 36317797
Comparison of induced neurons reveals slower structural and functional maturation in humans than in apes
We generated induced excitatory neurons (iNeurons, iNs) from chimpanzee, bonobo, and human stem cells by expressing the transcription factor neurogenin-2 (NGN2). Single-cell RNA sequencing showed that genes involved in dendrite and synapse development are expressed earlier during iNs maturation in the chimpanzee and bonobo than the human cells. In accordance, during the first 2 weeks of differentiation, chimpanzee and bonobo iNs showed repetitive action potentials and more spontaneous excitatory activity than human iNs, and extended neurites of higher total length. However, the axons of human iNs were slightly longer at 5 weeks of differentiation. The timing of the establishment of neuronal polarity did not differ between the species. Chimpanzee, bonobo, and human neurites eventually reached the same level of structural complexity. Thus, human iNs develop slower than chimpanzee and bonobo iNs, and this difference in timing likely depends on functions downstream of NGN2.
View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.59323
View details for Web of Science ID 000618603100001
View details for PubMedID 33470930
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7870144