Transcription factor ASCL2 is required for development of the glycogen trophoblast cell lineage.

PLoS genetics (2018-08-11)
Aaron B Bogutz, Rosemary Oh-McGinnis, Karen J Jacob, Rita Ho-Lau, Ting Gu, Marina Gertsenstein, Andras Nagy, Louis Lefebvre

The basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor ASCL2 plays essential roles in diploid multipotent trophoblast progenitors, intestinal stem cells, follicular T-helper cells, as well as during epidermal development and myogenesis. During early development, Ascl2 expression is regulated by genomic imprinting and only the maternally inherited allele is transcriptionally active in trophoblast. The paternal allele-specific silencing of Ascl2 requires expression of the long non-coding RNA Kcnq1ot1 in cis and the deposition of repressive histone marks. Here we show that Del7AI, a 280-kb deletion allele neighboring Ascl2, interferes with this process in cis and leads to a partial loss of silencing at Ascl2. Genetic rescue experiments show that the low level of Ascl2 expression from the paternal Del7AI allele can rescue the embryonic lethality associated with maternally inherited Ascl2 mutations, in a level-dependent manner. Despite their ability to support development to term, the rescued placentae have a pronounced phenotype characterized by severe hypoplasia of the junctional zone, expansion of the parietal trophoblast giant cell layer, and complete absence of invasive glycogen trophoblast cells. Transcriptome analysis of ectoplacental cones at E7.5 and differentiation assays of Ascl2 mutant trophoblast stem cells show that ASCL2 is required for the emergence or early maintenance of glycogen trophoblast cells during development. Our work identifies a new cis-acting mutation interfering with Kcnq1ot1 silencing function and establishes a novel critical developmental role for the transcription factor ASCL2.

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Heparin sodium salt from porcine intestinal mucosa, Grade I-A, ≥180 USP units/mg, powder, BioReagent, suitable for cell culture
Anti-Laminin antibody produced in rabbit, 0.5 mg/mL, affinity isolated antibody, buffered aqueous solution