Enhanced cortical neural stem cell identity through short SMAD and WNT inhibition in human cerebral organoids facilitates emergence of outer radial glial cells


Cerebral organoids exhibit broad regional heterogeneity accompanied by limited cortical cellular diversity despite the tremendous upsurge in derivation methods, suggesting inadequate patterning of early neural stem cells (NSCs). Here we show that a short and early Dual SMAD and WNT inhibition course is necessary and sufficient to establish robust and lasting cortical organoid NSC identity, efficiently suppressing non-cortical NSC fates, while other widely used methods are inconsistent in their cortical NSC-specification capacity. Accordingly, this method selectively enriches for outer radial glia NSCs, which cyto-architecturally demarcate well-defined outer sub-ventricular-like regions propagating from superiorly radially organized, apical cortical rosette NSCs. Finally, this method culminates in the emergence of molecularly distinct deep and upper cortical layer neurons, and reliably uncovers cortex-specific microcephaly defects. Thus, a short SMAD and WNT inhibition is critical for establishing a rich cortical cell repertoire that enables mirroring of fundamental molecular and cyto-architectural features of cortical development and meaningful disease modelling. © 2022. The Author(s).

Authors Rosebrock D, Arora S, Mutukula N, Volkman R, Gralinska E, Balaskas A, Aragonés Hernández A, Buschow R, Brändl B, Müller FJ, Arndt PF, Vingron M, Elkabetz Y
Journal Nature cell biology
Publication Date 2022 Jun;24(6):981-995
PubMed 35697781
DOI 10.1038/s41556-022-00929-5

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