Peg3 mutational effects on reproduction and placenta-specific gene families

PLoS One. 2013 Dec 31;8(12):e83359. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083359. eCollection 2013.


Peg3 (paternally expressed gene 3) is an imprinted gene encoding a DNA-binding protein. This gene plays important roles in controlling fetal growth rates and nurturing behaviors. In the current study, a new mutant mouse model has been generated to further characterize the functions of this DNA-binding protein. Besides known phenotypes, this new mutant model also revealed potential roles of Peg3 in mammalian reproduction. Female heterozygotes produce a much smaller number of mature oocytes than the wild-type littermates, resulting in reduced litter sizes. According to genome-wide expression analyses, several placenta-specific gene families are de-repressed in the brain of Peg3 heterozygous embryos, including prolactin, cathepsin and carcinoembryonic antigen cell adhesion molecule (Ceacam) families. The observed de-repression is more pronounced in females than in males. The de-repression of several members of these gene families is observed even in the adult brain, suggesting potential defects in epigenetic setting of the placenta-specific gene families in the Peg3 mutants. Overall, these results indicate that Peg3 likely controls the transcription of several placenta-specific gene families, and further suggest that this predicted transcriptional control by Peg3 might be mediated through unknown epigenetic mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Animals, Suckling
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Genomic Imprinting
  • Head / embryology
  • Heterozygote
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors / deficiency
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors / physiology
  • Litter Size / genetics
  • Litter Size / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Multigene Family
  • Mutation*
  • Placenta / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproduction / genetics*
  • Reproduction / physiology
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors
  • Peg3 protein, mouse