Elf5 counteracts precocious trophoblast differentiation by maintaining Sox2 and 3 and inhibiting Hand1 expression

David J Pearton, Craig S Smith, Emma Redgate, Jessica van Leeuwen, Martyn Donnison, Peter L Pfeffer
Developmental Biology 2014 August 15, 392 (2): 344-57
In mice the transcription factor Elf5 is necessary for correct trophoblast development. Upon knockdown of Elf5, TS cells display neither a decrease in proliferation nor an increase in cell death but rather an increased propensity to differentiate. Such cells rapidly lose Sox2 and 3 expression, while transiently upregulating the giant cell differentiation determinant gene Hand1. Other genes affected within 24h of Elf5 knock-down, many of which have not previously been implicated in trophoblast development, exhibited in vivo expression domains and in vitro expression responses consistent with Elf5 having a role in counteracting trophoblast differentiation. In an ES to TS differentiation assay using Cdx2 overexpression with Elf5 loss of function cell lines, it was shown that Elf5 is necessary to prevent terminal trophoblast differentiation. This data thus suggest that Elf5 is a gatekeeper for the TS to differentiated trophoblast transition thereby preventing the precocious differentiation of the undifferentiated extraembryonic ectoderm.

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