Journal Mobile Options
Table of Contents
Vol. 185, No. 1-3, 2007
Issue release date: June 2007
Cells Tissues Organs 2007;185:48–50

Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in Rhesus Monkey Embryonic Stem Cell Colonies: A Model for Processes Involved in Gastrulation?

Denker H.-W. · Behr R. · Heneweer C. · Viebahn C. · Thie M.
To view the fulltext, log in and/or choose pay-per-view option

Individual Users: Register with Karger Login Information

Please create your User ID & Password

Contact Information

I have read the Karger Terms and Conditions and agree.

To view the fulltext, please log in

To view the pdf, please log in


A characteristic feature of embryonic stem (ES) cells is their ability to give rise to differentiated cell types that are derived from all three primary germ layers. In the embryo of higher vertebrates, formation of mesoderm and definitive endoderm (gastrulation) occurs at the primitive streak through a spatially highly ordered process of cell ingression, combined with epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). With respect to ES cell differentiation in vitro, however, germ layer derivative formation has not been studied in much detail, and data on any degree of spatial order that may be attained here are lacking. In the investigations to be reviewed here, rhesus monkey ES cells (line R366.4) were grown on mouse embryonic fibroblast feeder layers for up to 10 days during which time they formed multilayered disc-like colonies with an upper epithelial and a lower mesenchymal cell layer. Processes of epithelialization as well as EMT were studied by transmission electron microscopy, immunohistochemistry combined with confocal laser scanning microscopy, and marker mRNA expression (in situ hybridization, RT-PCR). It was found that under the culture conditions used most of the ES cell colonies developed transitorily a central pit where the epithelial upper layer cells underwent an EMT-like process and appeared to ingress to form the lower, mesenchymal layer, accompanied by appropriate changes of morphology and molecular markers. Similarities and differences in comparison with gastrulation/primitive streak formation in vivo are briefly discussed, as are ethical implications with respect to human ES cells. It is concluded that this rhesus ES cell colony system may be an interesting in vitro model for studies on some basic processes involved in early embryogenesis such as EMT/gastrulation and may open new ways to study the regulation of these processes experimentally in vitro in nonhuman primates.

Copyright / Drug Dosage

Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or, in the case of photocopying, direct payment of a specified fee to the Copyright Clearance Center.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.


  1. Behr, R., C. Heneweer, C. Viebahn, H.-W. Denker, M. Thie (2005) Epithelial-mesenchymal transition in colonies of rhesus monkey embryonic stem cells: a model for processes involved in gastrulation. Stem Cells 23: 805–816.
  2. Blum, M., S.J. Gaunt, K.W.Y. Cho, H. Steinbeisser, B. Blumberg, D. Bittner, E.M. De Robertis (1992) Gastrulation in the mouse: the role of the homeobox gene goosecoid. Cell 69: 1097–1106.
  3. Denker, H.-W. (1999) Embryonic stem cells: an exciting field for basic research and tissue engineering, but also an ethical dilemma? Cells Tissues Organs 165: 246–249.
  4. Denker, H.-W. (2004) Early human development: new data raise important embryological and ethical questions relevant for stem cell research. Naturwissenschaften 91: 1–21.
  5. Denker, H.-W. (2006) Potentiality of embryonic stem cells: an ethical problem even with alternative stem cell sources. J Med Ethics 32: 665–671.
  6. Eakin, G.S., R.R. Behringer (2004) Gastrulation in other mammals and humans; in Stern, C.D. (ed): Gastrulation. From Cells to Embryo. Cold Spring Harbor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, pp 275–287.
  7. Nagy, A., J. Rossant, R. Nagy, W. Abramow-Newerly, J.C. Roder (1993) Derivation of completely cell culture-derived mice from early-passage embryonic stem cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 90: 8424–8428.
  8. Pera, M.F. (2001) Scientific considerations relating to the ethics of the use of human embryonic stem cells in research and medicine. Reprod Fertil Dev 13: 23–29.
  9. Saga, Y., N. Hata, S. Kobayashi, T. Magnuson, M.F. Seldin, M.M. Taketo (1996) MesP1: a novel basic helix-loop-helix protein expressed in the nascent mesodermal cells during mouse gastrulation. Development 122: 2769–2778.
  10. Savagner, P. (2001) Leaving the neighborhood: molecular mechanisms involved during epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Bioessays 23: 912–923.
  11. Tam, P.P.L., J.M. Gad (2004) Gastrulation in the mouse embryo; in Stern, C.D. (ed): Gastrulation. From Cells to Embryo. Cold Spring Harbor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, pp 233–262.
  12. Thomson, J.A., J. Kalishman, T.G. Golos, M. Durning, C.P. Harris, R.A. Becker, J.P. Hearn (1995) Isolation of a primate embryonic stem cell line. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 92: 7844–7848.
  13. Thomson, J.A., J. Kalishman, T.G. Golos, M. Durning, C.P. Harris, J.P. Hearn (1996) Pluripotent cell lines derived from common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) blastocysts. Biol Reprod 55: 254–259.
  14. Thomson, J.A., V.S. Marshall (1998) Primate embryonic stem cells. Curr Top Dev Biol 38: 133–165.
  15. Viebahn, C. (2004) Gastrulation in the rabbit; in Stern, C.D. (ed): Gastrulation. From Cells to Embryo. Cold Spring Harbor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, pp 263–274.
  16. Viebahn, C., C. Stortz, S.A. Mitchell, M. Blum (2002) Low proliferative and high migratory activity in the area of Brachyury expressing mesoderm progenitor cells in the gastrulating rabbit embryo. Development 129: 2355–2365.

Pay-per-View Options
Direct payment This item at the regular price: USD 33.00
Payment from account With a Karger Pay-per-View account (down payment USD 150) you profit from a special rate for this and other single items.
This item at the discounted price: USD 23.00