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Gene Expr Patterns. 2004 May;4(3):309-14.

Placental expression of SCO-spondin during mouse and human development.

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Laboratoire de Biochimie Médicale, Faculté de Médecine et de Pharmacie, UMR INSERM U.384 UA, 28 Place Henri Dunant, BP. 38, 63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France.


During mammalian development, the placenta is a transitory but indispensable structure for a harmonious gestation involving several biological processes, such as adhesion, differentiation, apoptosis or cellular guidance. Nevertheless, the molecular pathways implicated during the placentation are still not totally understood. We previously described, the subcommissural organ (SCO)-spondin, a member of the 'thrombospondin' super-family, which is strongly expressed during mammalian central nervous system development. This extra-cellular matrix glycoprotein shows a unique arrangement of several conserved domains, including thrombospondin type 1 repeats, low-density lipoprotein receptor type A domains, two epidermal growth factor-like domains, and N- and C-terminal von Willebrand factor cysteine-rich domains. The presence of these domains strongly suggests the SCO-spondin involvement in cellular events occurring during placental development and physiology. In order to define this new role of SCO-spondin during development, we demonstrated its expression at relevant steps of gestation in human and mouse placenta, using RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry and Western-blot experiments. These data initiate further insights into the molecular and genetic functions of the neuronal gene SCO-spondin during trophoblastic and more globally during placental physiology and development.

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