Derivation in culture of primordial germ cells from cells of the mouse epiblast: Phenotypic induction and growth control by Bmp4 signalling

Maurizio Pesce, Francesca Gioia Klinger, Massimo De Felici

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Primordial germ cells (PGCs) are the embryonic precursors of the gametes of the adult. PGCs derive from cells of the most proximal part of the cup-shaped epiblast corresponding to the presumptive region of the extraembryonic mesoderm. At 7.2 days post coitum (dpc) a small group of PGCs located at the base of the allantois can be recognised due to a strong alkaline phosphatase activity. Thus far, scant information was available on the mechanism(s) controlling the lineage of PGCs in the mouse embryo. However, results obtained in mice defective for bone morphogenetic protein-4 (Bmp4) secreted molecule revealed that this growth factor has important functions for the derivation of PGCs from extraembryonic mesoderm cells. In this paper, we have studied the effects in culture of Bmp4 on epiblast cells obtained from egg-cylinder stage mouse embryos (5.5-6.0dpc) and PGCs from 11.5dpc embryos. We found that Bmp4 treatment enables recruitment of pluripotent cells to a PGC phenotype by a multi-step process involving an initial pre-commitment of epiblast cells and a following stage of PGC phenotypic determination. We further provide evidences that Bmp4 may promote the growth of gonadal PGCs through a Smad1/4 signalling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-24
Number of pages10
JournalMechanisms of Development
Volume112
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Keywords

  • Bone morphogenetic protein-4
  • Epiblast
  • Germ cell lineage
  • Primordial germ cells
  • Smad

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Developmental Neuroscience

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