Qiyan Mao, Shaping Life 2, Online Conference, 7-9 April 2021
Shaping Life 2
→ Boarding pass
Postdoc, Institut de biologie du développement de Marseille (IBDM)
I am a postdoc from Frank Schnorrer’s lab at the Institut de Biologie du Développement de Marseille (IBDM, UMR 7288). I am interested in using minimalistic and synthetic approaches to understand developmental principles, and Shaping Life 2 offered a plethora of beautiful examples of how common developmental principles can be observed in various contexts.
Two talks that really got my eyes open were those offered by Antoine Zalc and Anne-Hélène Monsoro-Burq, who presented two parallel perspectives on how cranial neural crest cells (CNCCs) acquire pluripotency during development and evolution. Despite being an ectoderm derivative, CNCCs can give rise to mesenchymal cell types associated with the mesoderm lineages, such as bones, cartilages and muscles. Do CNCCs erase their epigenetic memories? Using single cell RNAseq, Both Antoine and Anne-Hélène’s group have found, in mouse and xenopus embryos, that a subpopulation of CNCCs transiently express Oct4, a hallmark for epiblast stem cell pluripotency. One the one hand, Antoine showed that Oct4 reactivation is crucial for the formation of mesenchymal derivatives of CNCCs in mouse embryos. This indicates a potential co-option of the epiblast stem cell fate plasticity in CNCCs. On the other hand, Anne-Hélène have identified an upstream factor to Oct4 enriched in the neural border and required for the CNCC-derived mesenchymal lineages in a stage-dependent manner. Since both Oct4 and its upstream regulator are unique to vertebrates, they could serve as mechanistic bases to a key vertebrate innovation: the head.
Thank you very much for the wonderful opportunity to present my work. Despite the digital format, I got a lot of good feedback, reconnected with old friends, and made new friends too! I look forward to a future installment of Shaping Life, and hopefully in person:)
→ Qiyan presented a short talk: “Multi-scale mechanical self-organisation in human iPSC-derived myofibers”