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Naive human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) are defined as the in vitro counterpart of the human preimplantation embryo's epiblast and are used as a model system to study developmental processes. In this study, we report the discovery and characterization of distinct cell populations coexisting with epiblast-like cells in 5iLAF naive human induced PSC (hiPSC) cultures. It is noteworthy that these populations closely resemble different cell types of the human embryo at early developmental stages. While epiblast-like cells represent the main cell population, interestingly we detect a cell population with gene and transposable element expression profile closely resembling the totipotent eight-cell (8C)-stage human embryo, and three cell populations analogous to trophectoderm cells at different stages of their maturation process: transition, early, and mature stages. Moreover, we reveal the presence of cells resembling primitive endoderm. Thus, 5iLAF naive hiPSC cultures provide an excellent opportunity to model the earliest events of human embryogenesis, from the 8C stage to the peri-implantation period.

Original publication




Journal article


Stem Cell Reports

Publication Date





64 - 80


8CLCs, naive state, single-cell RNA-seq, trophectoderm, Humans, Embryo, Mammalian, Pluripotent Stem Cells, Embryonic Development, Endoderm, Germ Layers, Cell Differentiation, Blastocyst