The anteroposterior axial identity of motor neurons (MNs) determines their functionality and vulnerability to neurodegeneration. Thus, it is a crucial parameter in the design of strategies aiming to produce MNs from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) for regenerative medicine/disease modelling applications. However, the in vitro generation of posterior MNs corresponding to the thoracic/ lumbosacral spinal cord has been challenging. Although the induction of cells resembling neuromesodermal progenitors (NMPs), the bona fide precursors of the spinal cord, offers a promising solution, the progressive specification of posterior MNs from these cells is not well defined. Here, we determine the signals guiding the transition of human NMP-like cells toward thoracic ventral spinal cord neurectoderm. We show that combined WNT-FGF activities drive a posterior dorsal pre-/early neural state, whereas suppression of TGF-BMP signalling pathways promotes a ventral identity and neural commitment. Based on these results, we define an optimised protocol for the generation of thoracic MNs that can efficiently integrate within the neural tube of chick embryos. We expect that our findings will facilitate the comparison of hPSC-derived spinal cord cells of distinct axial identities. © 2021 Company of Biologists Ltd. All rights reserved.

Defining the signalling determinants of a posterior ventral spinal cord identity in human neuromesodermal progenitor derivatives

Mario Rosario Guarracino;
2021-01-01

Abstract

The anteroposterior axial identity of motor neurons (MNs) determines their functionality and vulnerability to neurodegeneration. Thus, it is a crucial parameter in the design of strategies aiming to produce MNs from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) for regenerative medicine/disease modelling applications. However, the in vitro generation of posterior MNs corresponding to the thoracic/ lumbosacral spinal cord has been challenging. Although the induction of cells resembling neuromesodermal progenitors (NMPs), the bona fide precursors of the spinal cord, offers a promising solution, the progressive specification of posterior MNs from these cells is not well defined. Here, we determine the signals guiding the transition of human NMP-like cells toward thoracic ventral spinal cord neurectoderm. We show that combined WNT-FGF activities drive a posterior dorsal pre-/early neural state, whereas suppression of TGF-BMP signalling pathways promotes a ventral identity and neural commitment. Based on these results, we define an optimised protocol for the generation of thoracic MNs that can efficiently integrate within the neural tube of chick embryos. We expect that our findings will facilitate the comparison of hPSC-derived spinal cord cells of distinct axial identities. © 2021 Company of Biologists Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11580/84909
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