Ex utero mouse embryogenesis from pre-gastrulation to late organogenesis

Alejandro Aguilera-Castrejon, Tom Shani, Nadir Ghanem, Chen Itzkovich, Sharon Slomovich, Shadi Tarazi, Jonathan Bayerl, Valeriya Chugaeva, Muneef Ayyash, Shahd Ashouokhi, Daoud Sheban, Nir Livnat, Lior Lasman, Sergey Viukov, Mirie Zerbib, Yoseph Addadi, Yoach Rais, Saifeng Cheng, Hadas Keren-Shaul, Yonatan StelzerRaanan Shlomo, Rada Massarwa, Noa Novershtern, Jacob H Hanna, Bernardo Oldak, Itay Maza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mammalian body plan is established shortly after the embryo implants into the maternal uterus, and our understanding of post-implantation developmental processes remains limited. Although pre- and peri-implantation mouse embryos are routinely cultured in vitro 1,2, approaches for the robust culture of post-implantation embryos from egg cylinder stages until advanced organogenesis remain to be established. Here we present highly effective platforms for the ex utero culture of post-implantation mouse embryos, which enable the appropriate development of embryos from before gastrulation (embryonic day (E) 5.5) until the hindlimb formation stage (E11). Late gastrulating embryos (E7.5) are grown in three-dimensional rotating bottles, whereas extended culture from pre-gastrulation stages (E5.5 or E6.5) requires a combination of static and rotating bottle culture platforms. Histological, molecular and single-cell RNA sequencing analyses confirm that the ex utero cultured embryos recapitulate in utero development precisely. This culture system is amenable to the introduction of a variety of embryonic perturbations and micro-manipulations, the results of which can be followed ex utero for up to six days. The establishment of a system for robustly growing normal mouse embryos ex utero from pre-gastrulation to advanced organogenesis represents a valuable tool for investigating embryogenesis, as it eliminates the uterine barrier and allows researchers to mechanistically interrogate post-implantation morphogenesis and artificial embryogenesis in mammals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-124
Number of pages6
JournalNature (London)
Issue number7857
StatePublished - 17 Mar 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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