Exploring the molecular and functional links between the extra- embryonic (vitelline, umbilical, and placental) and fetal vascular systems.

Supervisor: Dr. Isabelle Migeotte

For nutrition, gas exchange and waste disposal, the mammalian embryo relies on its connection to extra-embryonic vascular systems, first the yolk sac via the vitelline vessels, then the placenta via the vessels of the umbilical cord.
We will record vascular morphogenesis of the vitelline and umbilical circulation through live imaging of cultured whole mouse embryos as well as tissue explants bearing fluorescent reporters for endothelial and erythroid populations.

Fate mapping experiments will explore the potential contribution of yolk sac endothelial cells to the fetal circulation.
We will establish a space (yolk sac and allantois, the umbilical cord precursor) and time (embryonic day E7.75 to E9) controlled transcriptomic atlas of the endothelial progenitors, their differentiated descendants, and their niche.

Specificities of the umbilical vessels, such as their exceptional resistance, will be addressed by transcriptomic, proteomic, and biochemical experiments on the cells and matrix of the developing umbilical cord.

The cues directing the fusion of chorion (future placenta) and allantois will be studied through a small molecules screen in a co-culture system.

The conservation of mechanisms in human will be tested through analysis of placenta and cord samples from normal and pathological pregnancies, specifically those with placenta implantation disorders and single umbilical artery.

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