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J Vis Exp February 2, 2016; (108): e53474.
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Stem cell-like Xenopus Embryonic Explants to Study Early Neural Developmental Features In Vitro and In Vivo.

Understanding the genetic programs underlying neural development is an important goal of developmental and stem cell biology. In the amphibian blastula, cells from the roof of the blastocoel are pluripotent. These cells can be isolated, and programmed to generate various tissues through manipulation of genes expression or induction by morphogens. In this manuscript protocols are described for the use of Xenopus laevis blastocoel roof explants as an assay system to investigate key in vivo and in vitro features of early neural development. These protocols allow the investigation of fate acquisition, cell migration behaviors, and cell autonomous and non-autonomous properties. The blastocoel roof explants can be cultured in a serum-free defined medium and grafted into host embryos. This transplantation into an embryo allows the investigation of the long-term lineage commitment, the inductive properties, and the behavior of transplanted cells in vivo. These assays can be exploited to investigate molecular mechanisms, cellular processes and gene regulatory networks underlying neural development. In the context of regenerative medicine, these assays provide a means to generate neural-derived cell types in vitro that could be used in drug screening.

PubMed ID: 26863402
PMC ID: PMC4781719
Article link: J Vis Exp

References [+] :
Afouda, Stem-cell-like embryonic explants to study cardiac development. 2013, Pubmed, Xenbase