Gene Expression Profiling Reveals a Novel Regulatory Role for Sox21 in Mouse Trophoblast Stem Cell Differentiation. [Gene Regulation]

October 21st, 2015 by Moretto Zita, M., Soncin, F., Natale, D., Pizzo, D., Parast, M.

Appropriate self-renewal and differentiation of trophoblast stem cells (TSC) are key factors for proper placental development and function, and in turn, for appropriate in utero fetal growth. In order to identify novel TSC-specific genes, we performed genome-wide expression profiling of TSCs, embryonic stem cells (ESCs), epiblast stem cells (EpiSCs), and mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs), derived from mice of the same genetic background. Our analysis revealed a high expression of Sox21 in TSCs compared to other cell types. Sox21 levels were high in undifferentiated TSCs and were dramatically reduced upon differentiation. In addition, modulation of Sox21 expression in TSCs affected lineage-specific differentiation, based on both marker analysis and functional assessment. Our results implicate Sox21 specifically in the promotion of spongiotrophoblast and giant cell differentiation and establish a new mechanism through which trophoblast sublineages are specified