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J Biol Chem. 2012 Dec 14;287(51):42685-94. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.388777. Epub 2012 Oct 15.

The maternally expressed gene Tssc3 regulates the expression of MASH2 transcription factor in mouse trophoblast stem cells through the AKT-Sp1 signaling pathway.

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Research Center for Environment and Developmental Medical Sciences, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kyushu University, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan.


Tssc3 is a maternally expressed/paternally silenced imprinted gene. Recent evidence suggests that the loss of TSSC3 results in placental overgrowth in mice. These findings showed that the TSSC3 gene functions as a negative regulator of placental growth. In this study, we describe the function of TSSC3 and its signaling pathway in mouse trophoblast stem (TS) cell differentiation. First of all, we tested Tssc3 expression levels in TS cells. TS cells expressed Tssc3, and its expression level was the highest from day 1 to 4 but was down-regulated at day 5 after the induction of differentiation. Overexpression of TSSC3 in TS cells up-regulated Gcm1 and Mash2, which are marker genes of mouse trophoblast differentiation. Down-regulation of TSSC3 by siRNA enhanced Pl1 and Tpbpa expression in TS cells cultured under stem cell conditions, suggesting the contribution of TSSC3 to the differentiation from TS to trophoblast progenitors and/or labyrinth trophoblasts. TSSC3 activated the PI3K/AKT pathway through binding with phosphatidylinositol phosphate lipids and enhanced the activity of a promoter containing an E-box structure, which is the binding sequence of the Mash2 downstream target gene promoter. PI3K inhibitor suppressed the promoter activity induced by TSSC3. TSSC3 induced Sp1 translocation from cytoplasm to nucleus through the PI3K/AKT pathway. Nuclear Sp1 activated the Mash2 transcription by Sp1 binding with a consensus Sp1-binding motif. This is the first report describing that TSSC3 plays an important role in the differentiation from TS to trophoblast progenitors and/or labyrinth trophoblasts through the TSSC3/PI3K/AKT/MASH2 signaling pathway.

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