Chimeric mice have been generated by injecting pluripotent stem cells into morula-to-blastocyst stage mouse embryo or by introducing more mature cells into later stage embryos that correspond to the differentiation stage of the donor cells. It has not been rigorously tested, however, whether successful chimera formation requires the developmental stage of host embryo and donor cell to be matched. Here, we compared the success of chimera formation following injection of primary neural crest cells (NCCs) into blastocysts or of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) into E8.5 embryos (heterochronic injection) with that of injecting ESCs cells into the blastocyst or NCCs into the E8.5 embryos (isochronic injection). Chimera formation was efficient when donor and host were matched, but no functional chimeric contribution was found in heterochronic injections. This suggests that matching the developmental stage of donor cells with the host embryo is crucial for functional engraftment of donor cells into the developing embryo. Cohen at al. compares the efficiency of chimera formation in heterochronic and isochronic injections of ESCs and NCCs. Using two distinct and well-characterized pre- and post-implantation chimeric platforms, they show that matching of developmental age of donor cells and the host is essential for chimera formation.
Cohen, M. A., Markoulaki, S., & Jaenisch, R. (2018). Matched Developmental Timing of Donor Cells with the Host Is Crucial for Chimera Formation. Stem Cell Reports, 10(5), 1445–1452. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stemcr.2018.03.004