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Placenta. 1999 Jan;20(1):109-18.

Expression of endogenous retrovirus ERV-3 induces differentiation in BeWo, a choriocarcinoma model of human placental trophoblast.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Wright State University School of Medicine, Dayton, Ohio 45435, USA.


Differentiation-related expression of endogenous retrovirus ERV-3 env in the normal human placental syncytiotrophoblast suggests a role in placental development. The choriocarcinoma cell line BeWo, a model of trophoblast differentiation, is maintained in an undifferentiated state and undergoes differentiation upon the addition of forskolin. The expression of ERV-3 env mRNA increased after 48 h forskolin treatment, concurrently with increased intercellular fusion and production of human chorionic gonadotropin (beta-hCG) mRNA, a hormonal differentiation marker for trophoblast. Over expression of ERV-3 env induced differentiation of BeWo characterized by decreased cell growth, differentiation-related morphologic changes, and induction of beta-hCG mRNA. These results support the first known role for the expression of an endogenous retrovirus in trophoblast differentiation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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