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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Biochemistry - Obstetrics

Transcriptome Analysis during Human Trophectoderm Specification Suggests New Roles of Metabolic and Epigenetic Genes
Published: Friday, June 22, 2012
Author: Said Assou et al.

by Said Assou, Imène Boumela, Delphine Haouzi, Cécile Monzo, Hervé Dechaud, Issac-Jacques Kadoch, Samir Hamamah

In humans, successful pregnancy depends on a cascade of dynamic events during early embryonic development. Unfortunately, molecular data on these critical events is scarce. To improve our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that govern the specification/development of the trophoblast cell lineage, the transcriptome of human trophectoderm (TE) cells from day 5 blastocysts was compared to that of single day 3 embryos from our in vitro fertilization program by using Human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 microarrays. Some of the microarray data were validated by quantitative RT-PCR. The TE molecular signature included 2,196 transcripts, among which were genes already known to be TE-specific (GATA2, GATA3 and GCM1) but also genes involved in trophoblast invasion (MUC15), chromatin remodeling (specifically the DNA methyltransferase DNMT3L) and steroid metabolism (HSD3B1, HSD17B1 and FDX1). In day 3 human embryos 1,714 transcripts were specifically up-regulated. Besides stemness genes such as NANOG and DPPA2, this signature included genes belonging to the NLR family (NALP4, 5, 9, 11 and 13), Ret finger protein-like family (RFPL1, 2 and 3), Melanoma Antigen family (MAGEA1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 12) and previously unreported transcripts, such as MBD3L2 and ZSCAN4. This study provides a comprehensive outlook of the genes that are expressed during the initial embryo-trophectoderm transition in humans. Further understanding of the biological functions of the key genes involved in steroidogenesis and epigenetic regulation of transcription that are up-regulated in TE cells may clarify their contribution to TE specification and might also provide new biomarkers for the selection of viable and competent blastocysts.