Research ArticleENGINEERING

Multivariate patterning of human pluripotent cells under perfusion reveals critical roles of induced paracrine factors in kidney organoid development

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Science Advances  08 Jan 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 2, eaaw2746
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw2746


Creating complex multicellular kidney organoids from pluripotent stem cells shows great promise. Further improvements in differentiation outcomes, patterning, and maturation of specific cell types are, however, intrinsically limited by standard tissue culture approaches. We describe a novel full factorial microbioreactor array–based methodology to achieve rapid interrogation and optimization of this complex multicellular differentiation process in a facile manner. We successfully recapitulate early kidney tissue patterning events, exploring more than 1000 unique conditions in an unbiased and quantitative manner, and define new media combinations that achieve near-pure renal cell type specification. Single-cell resolution identification of distinct renal cell types within multilayered kidney organoids, coupled with multivariate analysis, defined the definitive roles of Wnt, fibroblast growth factor, and bone morphogenetic protein signaling in their specification, exposed retinoic acid as a minimal effector of nephron patterning, and highlighted critical contributions of induced paracrine factors on cell specification and patterning.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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