In this issue, Deng et al. describe an efficient strategy that differentiates human pluripotent stem cells into neural crest and sensory neurons. The scalable protocol can be automated and produces large quantities of nociceptors that display cellular, molecular, and functional characteristics of native dorsal root ganglion neurons. The cover image depicts nociceptors derived from human embryonic stem cells after 28 days of differentiation. Double labeling immunocytochemistry shows expression of sodium channel NAV1.7, which is an important drug target expressed by nociceptors (NAV1.7 in red, neuronal marker beta-III tubulin in green, nuclear marker Hoechst in blue; yellow representing overlap of red and green). Image by Tao Deng.
Our manuscript was also highlighted on the NIH Common Fund Website.