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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Nov 9;96(23):13345-50.

Syncytiotrophoblastic giant cells in teratocarcinoma-like tumors derived from Parp-disrupted mouse embryonic stem cells.

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  • 1Division of Biochemistry, National Cancer Center Research Institute, 1-1, Tsukiji 5-chome, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104-0045 Japan.


The enzyme poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (Parp) catalyzes poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation reaction and is involved in DNA repair and cell death induction upon DNA damages. Meanwhile, poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation of chromosome-associated proteins is suggested to be implicated in the regulation of gene expression and cellular differentiation, both of which are important in tumorigenesis. To investigate directly the role of Parp deficiency in tumorigenicity and differentiation of embryonic stem (ES) cells during tumor formation, studies were conducted by using wild-type J1 (Parp(+/+)) ES cells and Parp(+/-) and Parp(-/-) ES clones generated by disrupting Parp exon 1. These ES cells, irrespective of the Parp genotype, produced tumors phenotypically similar to teratocarcinoma when injected s.c. into nude mice. Remarkably, all tumors derived from Parp(-/-) clones contained syncytiotrophoblastic giant cells (STGCs), which possess single or multiple megalo-nuclei. The STGCs were present within large areas of intratumoral hemorrhage. In contrast, neither STGC nor hemorrhage was observed in tumors of both wild-type J1 cells and Parp(+/-) clones. Electron microscopic examination showed that the STGCs possess microvilli on the cell surface and contained secretory granules in the cytoplasm. Furthermore, the cytoplasms of STGCs were strongly stained with antibody against mouse prolactin, which could similarly stain trophoblasts in placenta. These morphological and histochemical features indicate that the STGCs in teratocarcinoma-like tumors derived from Parp(-/-) clones belong to the trophoblast cell lineage. Our findings thus suggest that differentiation of ES cells into STGCs was possibly induced by the lack of Parp during the development of teratocarcinoma.

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