Dissecting peri-implantation development using cultured human embryos and embryo-like assembloids

Zongyong Ai, Baohua Niu, Yu Yin, Lifeng Xiang, Gaohui Shi, Kui Duan, Sile Wang, Yingjie Hu, Chi Zhang, Chengting Zhang, Lujuan Rong, Ruize Kong, Tingwei Chen, Yixin Guo, Wanlu Liu, Nan Li, Shumei Zhao, Xiaoqing Zhu, Xuancheng Mai, Yonggang LiZe Wu, Yi Zheng, Jianping Fu, Weizhi Ji, Tianqing Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Studies of cultured embryos have provided insights into human peri-implantation development. However, detailed knowledge of peri-implantation lineage development as well as underlying mechanisms remains obscure. Using 3D-cultured human embryos, herein we report a complete cell atlas of the early post-implantation lineages and decipher cellular composition and gene signatures of the epiblast and hypoblast derivatives. In addition, we develop an embryo-like assembloid (E-assembloid) by assembling naive hESCs and extraembryonic cells. Using human embryos and E-assembloids, we reveal that WNT, BMP and Nodal signaling pathways synergistically, but functionally differently, orchestrate human peri-implantation lineage development. Specially, we dissect mechanisms underlying extraembryonic mesoderm and extraembryonic endoderm specifications. Finally, an improved E-assembloid is developed to recapitulate the epiblast and hypoblast development and tissue architectures in the pre-gastrulation human embryo. Our findings provide insights into human peri-implantation development, and the E-assembloid offers a useful model to disentangle cellular behaviors and signaling interactions that drive human embryogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)661-678
Number of pages18
JournalCell Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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