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What Is Trophoblast? A Combination of Criteria Define Human First-Trimester Trophoblast.

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Lee, Cheryl QE 
Gardner, Lucy 
Zhao, Nancy 
Murray, Matthew J 


Controversy surrounds reports describing the derivation of human trophoblast cells from placentas and embryonic stem cells (ESC), partly due to the difficulty in identifying markers that define cells as belonging to the trophoblast lineage. We have selected criteria that are characteristic of primary first-trimester trophoblast: a set of protein markers, HLA class I profile, methylation of ELF5, and expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) from the chromosome 19 miRNA cluster (C19MC). We tested these criteria on cells previously reported to show some phenotypic characteristics of trophoblast: bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-treated human ESC and 2102Ep, an embryonal carcinoma cell line. Both cell types only show some, but not all, of the four trophoblast criteria. Thus, BMP-treated human ESC have not fully differentiated to trophoblast. Our study identifies a robust panel, including both protein and non-protein-coding markers that, in combination, can be used to reliably define cells as characteristic of early trophoblast.



Biomarkers, Cells, Cultured, Chromosomes, Human, Pair 19, DNA Methylation, DNA-Binding Proteins, Female, Fibroblast Growth Factors, Histocompatibility Antigens Class I, Human Embryonic Stem Cells, Humans, MicroRNAs, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Trimester, First, Promoter Regions, Genetic, Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ets, Pyrimidines, Terminology as Topic, Transcription Factors, Trophoblasts

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Stem Cell Reports

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Elsevier BV
Wellcome Trust (090108/Z/09/Z)
Wellcome Trust (085992/Z/08/Z)
European Commission (629785)
British Heart Foundation (None)
C. Lee is in receipt of a scholarship from Agency of Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the Centre of Trophoblast Research (Cambridge). The Wellcome Trust (090108/Z/09/Z, 085992/Z/08/Z), British Heart Foundation (PG/09/077/27964) and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR MOP 77803) supported this work.