The role of Cdx2 as a lineage specific transcriptional repressor for pluripotent network during the first developmental cell lineage segregation

Sci Rep. 2017 Dec 7;7(1):17156. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-16009-w.


The first cellular differentiation event in mouse development leads to the formation of the blastocyst consisting of the inner cell mass (ICM) and trophectoderm (TE). The transcription factor CDX2 is required for proper TE specification, where it promotes expression of TE genes, and represses expression of Pou5f1 (OCT4). However its downstream network in the developing embryo is not fully characterized. Here, we performed high-throughput single embryo qPCR analysis in Cdx2 null embryos to identify CDX2-regulated targets in vivo. To identify genes likely to be regulated by CDX2 directly, we performed CDX2 ChIP-Seq on trophoblast stem (TS) cells. In addition, we examined the dynamics of gene expression changes using inducible CDX2 embryonic stem (ES) cells, so that we could predict which CDX2-bound genes are activated or repressed by CDX2 binding. By integrating these data with observations of chromatin modifications, we identify putative novel regulatory elements that repress gene expression in a lineage-specific manner. Interestingly, we found CDX2 binding sites within regulatory elements of key pluripotent genes such as Pou5f1 and Nanog, pointing to the existence of a novel mechanism by which CDX2 maintains repression of OCT4 in trophoblast. Our study proposes a general mechanism in regulating lineage segregation during mammalian development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CDX2 Transcription Factor / genetics
  • CDX2 Transcription Factor / metabolism*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage / genetics*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Embryo, Mammalian / cytology*
  • Embryo, Mammalian / physiology
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Mice
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Single-Cell Analysis
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Transcriptome
  • Trophoblasts / cytology*
  • Trophoblasts / physiology


  • CDX2 Transcription Factor
  • Cdx2 protein, mouse
  • Repressor Proteins