The Caudal-Related Protein cdx2 Promotes Trophoblast Differentiation of Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells

Stem Cells. 2006 Jan;24(1):139-44. doi: 10.1634/stemcells.2005-0240. Epub 2005 Oct 6.


Besides holding great promise in clinics, embryonic stem (ES) cells represent a valuable tool for studying regulation of early developmental processes, such as cell differentiation in preimplantation embryos. The caudal-related homeobox protein Cdx2 is a transcriptional regulator essential for trophoblast lineage, functioning as early as implantation. Using an inducible system, we show that gain of Cdx2 function in ES cells triggers trophoblast-like morphological differentiation, accompanied by ploidy increase, onset of expression of trophoblast-specific markers, and loss of pluripotency-associated gene expression. These data provide an insight into the genetic network that controls lineage specification and functioning in early mammalian development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • CDX2 Transcription Factor
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Embryonic Development
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Stem Cells / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Trophoblasts / physiology*


  • Biomarkers
  • CDX2 Transcription Factor
  • Cdx2 protein, mouse
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid
  • Transcription Factors