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J Biol Chem. 2009 Oct 16;284(42):28729-37. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.016840. Epub 2009 Aug 21.

GATA3 is selectively expressed in the trophectoderm of peri-implantation embryo and directly regulates Cdx2 gene expression.

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  • 1Institute of Maternal-Fetal Biology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas 66160, USA.


During early mammalian development, genesis of the first two cell lineages, inner cell mass (ICM) and trophectoderm (TE), is dependent upon functions of key transcription factors that are expressed in a regulated and spatially restricted fashion. In this study, we demonstrate that during early mouse development, mRNA expression of transcription factor GATA3 is induced at the 4-cell stage and is consistently present during pre-implantation embryonic development. Interestingly, at the blastocyst stage, Gata3 mRNA is selectively up-regulated within the TE lineage, and GATA3 protein is abundantly present only in the TE but not in the ICM. Using mouse trophoblast stem cells (TS cells) as a model, we found that, knockdown of GATA3 by RNA interference (RNAi) down-regulates expression of caudal-type homeobox 2 (CDX2), a key regulator of the TE lineage. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) analyses revealed that, in TS cells, GATA3 directly regulates Cdx2 transcription from a conserved GATA motif at the intron 1 region of the Cdx2 locus. ChIP analyses with mouse blastocysts also detected GATA3 occupancy at intron 1 of the Cdx2 locus. In addition, down-regulation of GATA3 in pre-implantation mouse embryos reduces Cdx2 expression and inhibits morula to blastocyst transformation. Our results indicate a novel function of GATA3, in which it is selectively expressed in TE, regulates expression of key genes in TE lineage, and is involved in morula to blastocyst transformation.

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