Team 06: Molecular mechanisms of cell lineage differentiation in the early mouse embryo

Our team is interested in deciphering the molecular mechanisms regulating one of the first cell differentiation event that takes place in the embryo: the binary specification of epiblast (Epi) and Primitive Endoderm (PrE) within the Inner Cell Mass of the blastocyst during preimplantation.

This developmental program requires the concerted action of sequence-specific transcription factors and cell signalling


Our goal is to decipher the mechanisms of cell differentiation in the preimplantation mouse embryo.  We are focusing on Primitive Endoderm (PrE) versus Epiblast specification during blastocyst development and in the past years we have shown the interplay between different transcription factors such as Nanog for the Epiblast and Gata6, Sox17, Gata4 for the PrE. These findings have an important impact in stem cell biology, as embryonic stem cells (ES) are derived from blastocysts.

In collaboration with the team of A. Goldbeter/ G. Dupont a mathematical model was built (Bessonnard et al, 2014 Development) , uncovering novel features that were are currently investigating.

Research thematics


Last Name First Name Position Contact
Nicolas ALLEGRE profile picture ALLEGRE Nicolas Assistant Engineer
Cecilia BASSALERT profile picture BASSALERT Cecilia Ph.D Student
Claire CHAZAUD profile picture CHAZAUD Claire Principal Investigator
Stephanie HERMITTE profile picture HERMITTE Stephanie Ph.D Student
Pierre POUCHIN profile picture POUCHIN Pierre Research Engineer
Lorena VALVERDE ESTRELLA profile picture VALVERDE ESTRELLA Lorena Post-doctoral Fellow


  • 2016
    • C. Chazaud and Y. Yamanaka, “Lineage specification in the mouse preimplantation embryo.”, Development, vol. 143 (7) , pp. 1063–74, 2016.
    • L. De Mot, D. Gonze, S. Bessonnard, C. Chazaud, A. Goldbeter and G. Dupont, “Cell Fate Specification Based on Tristability in the Inner Cell Mass of Mouse Blastocysts.”, Biophysical journal, vol. 110 (3) , pp. 710–22, 2016.
  • 2015
    • S. Chauveau and C. Chazaud, “Assessment of cell lineages and cell death in blastocysts by immunostaining.”, Meth. Mol. Biol., vol. 1222 , pp. 175–80, 2015.
  • 2014
    • S. Hermitte and C. Chazaud, “Primitive endoderm differentiation: from specification to epithelium formation.”, Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, vol. 369 (1657) , 2014.
    • S. Bessonnard, L. De Mot, D. Gonze, M. Barriol, C. Dennis, A. Goldbeter, G. Dupont and C. Chazaud, “Gata6, Nanog and Erk signaling control cell fate in the inner cell mass through a tristable regulatory network.”, Development, vol. 141 (19) , pp. 3637–48, 2014.
    • J. Artus and C. Chazaud, “A close look at the mammalian blastocyst: epiblast and primitive endoderm formation.”, Cell. Mol. Life Sci., vol. 71 (17) , pp. 3327–38, 2014.
  • 2013
  • 2012
    • F. Lavial, S. Bessonnard, Y. Ohnishi, A. Tsumura, A. Chandrashekran, M. Fenwick, R. Tomaz, H. Hosokawa, T. Nakayama, I. Chambers, T. Hiiragi, C. Chazaud and V. Azuara, “Bmi1 facilitates primitive endoderm formation by stabilizing Gata6 during early mouse development.”, Genes Dev., vol. 26 (13) , pp. 1445–58, 2012.
  • 2011
    • S. Frankenberg, F. Gerbe, S. Bessonnard, C. Belville, P. Pouchin, O. Bardot and C. Chazaud, “Primitive endoderm differentiates via a three-step mechanism involving Nanog and RTK signaling.”, Dev. Cell, vol. 21 (6) , pp. 1005–13, 2011.
    • H. Elatmani, V. Dormoy-Raclet, P. Dubus, F. Dautry, C. Chazaud and H. Jacquemin-Sablon, “The RNA-binding protein Unr prevents mouse embryonic stem cells differentiation toward the primitive endoderm lineage.”, Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio), vol. 29 (10) , pp. 1504–16, 2011.
  • 2008
    • C. Chazaud, “[Early embryogenesis in mammals: stem cells and first commitment steps].”, Med Sci (Paris), vol. 24 (12) , pp. 1043–8, 2008.
    • F. Gerbe, B. Cox, J. Rossant and C. Chazaud, “Dynamic expression of Lrp2 pathway members reveals progressive epithelial differentiation of primitive endoderm in mouse blastocyst.”, Dev. Biol. (NY), vol. 313 (2) , pp. 594–602, 2008-01-15 2008.