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1404 Publications

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    09/03/23 | Complete human day 14 post-implantation embryo models from naïve ES cells
    Oldak B, Wildschutz E, Bondarenko V, Comar M, Zhao C, Aguilera-Castrejon A, Tarazi S, Viukov S, Pham TX, Ashouokhi S, Lokshtanov D, Roncato F, Ariel E, Rose M, Livnat N, Shani T, Joubran C, Cohen R, Addadi Y, Chemla M, Kedmi M, Keren-Shaul H, Pasque V, Petropoulos S, Lanner F, Novershtern N, Hanna JH
    Nature. 09/2023:. doi: 10.1038/s41586-023-06604-5

    The ability to study human post-implantation development remains limited due to ethical and technical challenges associated with intrauterine development after implantation1. Embryo-like models with spatially organized morphogenesis of all defining embryonic and extra-embryonic tissues of the post-implantation human conceptus (i.e., embryonic disk, bilaminar disk, yolk- and chorionic sacs, surrounding trophoblasts) remain lacking2. Mouse naïve embryonic stem cells (ESCs) have recently been shown to give rise to embryonic and extra-embryonic stem cells capable of self-assembling into post-gastrulation mouse Structured Stem cell-based Embryo Models with spatially organized morphogenesis (SEMs)3. Here, we extend these findings to humans, while using only genetically unmodified human naïve ESCs (in HENSM conditions)4. Such human fully integrated SEMs recapitulate the organization of nearly all known lineages and compartments of post-implantation human embryos including epiblast, hypoblast, extra-embryonic mesoderm, and trophoblast surrounding the latter layers. These human complete SEMs demonstrated developmental growth dynamics that resemble key hallmarks of post-implantation stage embryogenesis up to 13-14 days post-fertilization (dpf) (Carnegie stage 6a). This includes embryonic disk and bilaminar disk formation, epiblast lumenogenesis, polarized amniogenesis, anterior-posterior symmetry breaking, PGC specification, polarized yolk sac with visceral and parietal endoderm, extra-embryonic mesoderm expansion that defines a chorionic cavity and a connecting stalk, a trophoblast surrounding compartment demonstrating syncytium and lacunae formation. This SEM platform may enable the experimental interrogation of previously inaccessible windows of human early post-implantation up to peri-gastrulation development.

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    12/01/22 | Recent insights into mammalian natural and synthetic ex utero embryogenesis
    Bernardo Oldak , Alejandro Aguilera-Castrejon , Jacob H Hanna
    Current Opinion in Genetics & Development. 12/2022;77:101988. doi:

    Research on early postimplantation mammalian development has been limited by the small size and intrauterine confinement of the developing embryos. Owing to the inability to observe and manipulate living embryos at these stages in utero, the establishment of robust ex utero embryo-culture systems that capture prolonged periods of mouse development has been an important research goal. In the last few years, these methods have been significantly improved by the optimization and enhancement of in vitro culture systems sustaining embryo development during peri-implantation stages for several species, and more recently, proper growth of natural mouse embryos from pregastrulation to late organogenesis stages and of embryonic stem cell (ES)-derived synthetic embryo models until early organogenesis stages. Here, we discuss the most recent ex utero embryo-culture systems established to date for rodents, nonhuman primates, and humans. We emphasize their technical aspects and developmental timeframe and provide insights into the new opportunities that these methods will contribute to the study of natural and synthetic mammalian embryogenesis and the stem-cell field.

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    07/21/10 | Droplet freezing, docking, and the exchange of immiscible phase and surfactant around frozen droplets.
    Sgro AE, Chiu DT
    Lab Chip. 07/2010;10(14):1873-7. doi: 10.1039/c001108h

    This paper describes a platform for cooling microfluidic chips so as to freeze aqueous droplets flowing in oil. Using a whole-chip cooling chamber, we can control the ambient temperature surrounding a microfluidic chip and induce cooling and freezing inside the channels. When combined with a droplet generation and droplet docking chip, this platform allows for the facile freezing of droplets immobilized in resistance-based docks. Depending on the design and shape of the docks, the frozen droplets can either be trapped stably in the docks or be released because deformed non-frozen aqueous droplets turn spherical when frozen, and thus can become dislodged from the docks. Additionally, using this chamber and chip combination we are able to exchange immiscible phases and surfactants surrounding the frozen droplets. The materials and methods are inexpensive and easily accessible to microfluidics researchers, making this a simple addition to an existing microfluidic platform.

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    11/10/22 | Efficient Gene Knockout in Salivary Gland Epithelial Explant Cultures
    R. Sekiguchi , M.M. Mehlferber , K. Matsumoto , S. Wang
    Journal of Dental Research. 11/2022;102:197-206. doi: 10.1177/00220345221128201

    We have developed methods to achieve efficient CRISPR-Cas9–mediated gene knockout in ex vivo mouse embryonic salivary epithelial explants. Salivary epithelial explants provide a valuable model for characterizing cell signaling, differentiation, and epithelial morphogenesis, but research has been limited by a paucity of efficient gene perturbation methods. Here, we demonstrate highly efficient gene perturbation by transient transduction of guide RNA–expressing lentiviruses into Cas9-expressing salivary epithelial buds isolated from Cas9 transgenic mice. We first show that salivary epithelial explants can be cultured in low-concentration, nonsolidified Matrigel suspensions in 96-well plates, which greatly increases sample throughput compared to conventional cultures embedded in solidified Matrigel. We further show that salivary epithelial explants can grow and branch with FGF7 alone, while supplementing with insulin, transferrin, and selenium (ITS) enhances growth and branching. We then describe an efficient workflow to produce experiment-ready, high-titer lentiviruses within 1 wk after molecular cloning. To track transduced cells, we designed the lentiviral vector to coexpress a nuclear fluorescent reporter with the guide RNA. We routinely achieved 80% transduction efficiency when antibiotic selection was used. Importantly, we detected robust loss of targeted protein products when testing 9 guide RNAs for 3 different genes. Moreover, targeting the β1 integrin gene (Itgb1) inhibited branching morphogenesis, which supports the importance of cell–matrix adhesion in driving branching morphogenesis. In summary, we have established a lentivirus-based method that can efficiently perturb genes of interest in salivary epithelial explants, which will greatly facilitate studies of specific gene functions using this system.

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    11/08/22 | Human primed and naïve PSCs are both able to differentiate into trophoblast stem cells.
    Viukov S, Shani T, Bayerl J, Aguilera-Castrejon A, Oldak B, Sheban D, Tarazi S, Stelzer Y, Hanna JH, Novershtern N
    Stem Cell Reports. 11/2022;17(11):2484-2500. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2022.09.008

    The recent derivation of human trophoblast stem cells (TSCs) from placental cytotrophoblasts and blastocysts opened opportunities for studying the development and function of the human placenta. Recent reports have suggested that human naïve, but not primed, pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) retain an exclusive potential to generate TSCs. Here we report that, in the absence of WNT stimulation, transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) pathway inhibition leads to direct and robust conversion of primed human PSCs into TSCs. The resulting primed PSC-derived TSC lines exhibit self-renewal, can differentiate into the main trophoblast lineages, and present RNA and epigenetic profiles that are indistinguishable from recently established TSC lines derived from human placenta, blastocysts, or isogenic human naïve PSCs expanded under human enhanced naïve stem cell medium (HENSM) conditions. Activation of nuclear Yes-associated protein (YAP) signaling is sufficient for this conversion and necessary for human TSC maintenance. Our findings underscore a residual plasticity in primed human PSCs that allows their in vitro conversion into extra-embryonic trophoblast lineages.

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    10/06/22 | In situ cell-type-specific cell-surface proteomic profiling in mice.
    Shuster SA, Li J, Chon U, Sinantha-Hu MC, Luginbuhl DJ, Udeshi ND, Carey DK, Takeo YH, Xie Q, Xu C, Mani DR, Han S, Ting AY, Carr SA, Luo L
    Neuron. 10/2022:. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2022.09.025

    Cell-surface proteins (CSPs) mediate intercellular communication throughout the lives of multicellular organisms. However, there are no generalizable methods for quantitative CSP profiling in specific cell types in vertebrate tissues. Here, we present in situ cell-surface proteome extraction by extracellular labeling (iPEEL), a proximity labeling method in mice that enables spatiotemporally precise labeling of cell-surface proteomes in a cell-type-specific environment in native tissues for discovery proteomics. Applying iPEEL to developing and mature cerebellar Purkinje cells revealed differential enrichment in CSPs with post-translational protein processing and synaptic functions in the developing and mature cell-surface proteomes, respectively. A proteome-instructed in vivo loss-of-function screen identified a critical, multifaceted role for Armh4 in Purkinje cell dendrite morphogenesis. Armh4 overexpression also disrupts dendrite morphogenesis; this effect requires its conserved cytoplasmic domain and is augmented by disrupting its endocytosis. Our results highlight the utility of CSP profiling in native mammalian tissues for identifying regulators of cell-surface signaling.

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    10/06/22 | Embryo model completes gastrulation to neurulation and organogenesis.
    Amadei G, Handford CE, Qiu C, De Jonghe J, Greenfeld H, Tran M, Martin BK, Chen D, Aguilera-Castrejon A, Hanna JH, Elowitz MB, Hollfelder F, Shendure J, Glover DM, Zernicka-Goetz M
    Nature. 10/2022;610(7930):143-153. doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-05246-3

    Embryonic stem (ES) cells can undergo many aspects of mammalian embryogenesis in vitro, but their developmental potential is substantially extended by interactions with extraembryonic stem cells, including trophoblast stem (TS) cells, extraembryonic endoderm stem (XEN) cells and inducible XEN (iXEN) cells. Here we assembled stem cell-derived embryos in vitro from mouse ES cells, TS cells and iXEN cells and showed that they recapitulate the development of whole natural mouse embryo in utero up to day 8.5 post-fertilization. Our embryo model displays headfolds with defined forebrain and midbrain regions and develops a beating heart-like structure, a trunk comprising a neural tube and somites, a tail bud containing neuromesodermal progenitors, a gut tube, and primordial germ cells. This complete embryo model develops within an extraembryonic yolk sac that initiates blood island development. Notably, we demonstrate that the neurulating embryo model assembled from Pax6-knockout ES cells aggregated with wild-type TS cells and iXEN cells recapitulates the ventral domain expansion of the neural tube that occurs in natural, ubiquitous Pax6-knockout embryos. Thus, these complete embryoids are a powerful in vitro model for dissecting the roles of diverse cell lineages and genes in development. Our results demonstrate the self-organization ability of ES cells and two types of extraembryonic stem cells to reconstitute mammalian development through and beyond gastrulation to neurulation and early organogenesis.

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    11/14/19 | Genetic Identification of Vagal Sensory Neurons That Control Feeding
    Ling Bai , Sheyda Mesgarzadeh , Karthik S. Ramesh , Erica L. Huey , Yin Liu , Lindsay A. Gray , Tara J. Aitken , Yiming Chen , Lisa R. Beutler , Jamie S. Ahn , Linda Madisen , Hongkui Zeng , Mark A. Krasnow , Zachary A. Knight
    Cell. 11/2019;179:1129-1143.e23. doi:

    Summary Energy homeostasis requires precise measurement of the quantity and quality of ingested food. The vagus nerve innervates the gut and can detect diverse interoceptive cues, but the identity of the key sensory neurons and corresponding signals that regulate food intake remains unknown. Here, we use an approach for target-specific, single-cell RNA sequencing to generate a map of the vagal cell types that innervate the gastrointestinal tract. We show that unique molecular markers identify vagal neurons with distinct innervation patterns, sensory endings, and function. Surprisingly, we find that food intake is most sensitive to stimulation of mechanoreceptors in the intestine, whereas nutrient-activated mucosal afferents have no effect. Peripheral manipulations combined with central recordings reveal that intestinal mechanoreceptors, but not other cell types, potently and durably inhibit hunger-promoting AgRP neurons in the hypothalamus. These findings identify a key role for intestinal mechanoreceptors in the regulation of feeding.

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    06/19/20 | Meissner corpuscles and their spatially intermingled afferents underlie gentle touch perception
    Nicole L. Neubarth , Alan J. Emanuel , Yin Liu , Mark W. Springel , Annie Handler , Qiyu Zhang , Brendan P. Lehnert , Chong Guo , Lauren L. Orefice , Amira Abdelaziz , Michelle M. DeLisle , Michael Iskols , Julia Rhyins , Soo J. Kim , Stuart J. Cattel , Wade Regehr , Christopher D. Harvey , Jan Drugowitsch , David D. Ginty
    Science. 06/2020;368:eabb2751. doi: 10.1126/science.abb2751

    The Meissner corpuscle, a mechanosensory end organ, was discovered more than 165 years ago and has since been found in the glabrous skin of all mammals, including that on human fingertips. Although prominently featured in textbooks, the function of the Meissner corpuscle is unknown. Neubarth et al. generated adult mice without Meissner corpuscles and used them to show that these corpuscles alone mediate behavioral responses to, and perception of, gentle forces (see the Perspective by Marshall and Patapoutian). Each Meissner corpuscle is innervated by two molecularly distinct, yet physiologically similar, mechanosensory neurons. These two neuronal subtypes are developmentally interdependent and their endings are intertwined within the corpuscle. Both Meissner mechanosensory neuron subtypes are homotypically tiled, ensuring uniform and complete coverage of the skin, yet their receptive fields are overlapping and offset with respect to each other. Science, this issue p. eabb2751; see also p. 1311 Light touch perception and fine sensorimotor control arise from spatially overlapping mechanoreceptors of the Meissner corpuscle. Meissner corpuscles are mechanosensory end organs that densely occupy mammalian glabrous skin. We generated mice that selectively lacked Meissner corpuscles and found them to be deficient in both perceiving the gentlest detectable forces acting on glabrous skin and fine sensorimotor control. We found that Meissner corpuscles are innervated by two mechanoreceptor subtypes that exhibit distinct responses to tactile stimuli. The anatomical receptive fields of these two mechanoreceptor subtypes homotypically tile glabrous skin in a manner that is offset with respect to one another. Electron microscopic analysis of the two Meissner afferents within the corpuscle supports a model in which the extent of lamellar cell wrappings of mechanoreceptor endings determines their force sensitivity thresholds and kinetic properties.

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    11/13/21 | Molecular, anatomical, and functional organization of lung interoceptors
    Liu Y, Diaz de Arce AJ, Krasnow MA
    bioRxiv. 11/2021:. doi: 10.1101/2021.11.10.468116

    Interoceptors, sensory neurons that monitor internal organs and states, are essential for physiological homeostasis and generating internal perceptions. Here we describe a comprehensive transcriptomic atlas of interoceptors of the mouse lung, defining 10 molecular subtypes that differ in developmental origin, myelination, receptive fields, terminal morphologies, and cell contacts. Each subtype expresses a unique but overlapping combination of sensory receptors that detect diverse physiological and pathological stimuli, and each can signal to distinct sets of lung cells including immune cells, forming a local neuroimmune interaction network. Functional interrogation of two mechanosensory subtypes reveals exquisitely-specific homeostatic roles in breathing, one regulating inspiratory time and the other inspiratory flow. The results suggest that lung interoceptors encode diverse and dynamic sensory information rivaling that of canonical exteroceptors, and this information is used to drive myriad local cellular interactions and enable precision control of breathing, while providing only vague perceptions of organ states.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.

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