Exploring trophoblast-specific Tead4 enhancers through chromatin conformation capture assays followed by functional screening

Nucleic Acids Res. 2020 Jan 10;48(1):278-289. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkz1034.


Tead4 is critical for blastocyst development and trophoblast differentiation. We assayed long-range chromosomal interactions on the Tead4 promoter in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells and trophoblast stem (TS) cells. Using luciferase reporter assays with ES and TS cells for 34 candidate enhancer regions, we identified five genomic fragments that increased Tead4 promoter activity in a TS-specific manner. The five loci consisted of three intra- and two inter-chromosomal loci relative to Tead4 on chromosome 6. We established five mouse lines with one of the five enhancer elements deleted and evaluated the effect of each deletion on Tead4 expression in blastocysts. By quantitative RT-PCR, we measured a 42% decrease in Tead4 expression in the blastocysts with a homozygous deletion with a 1.5 kb genomic interval on chromosome 19 (n = 14) than in wild-type blastocysts. By conducting RNA-seq analysis, we confirmed the trans effect of this enhancer deletion on Tead4 without significant cis effects on its neighbor genes at least within a 1.7 Mb distance. Our results demonstrated that the genomic interval on chromosome 19 is required for the appropriate level of Tead4 expression in blastocysts and suggested that an inter-chromosomal enhancer-promoter interaction may be the underlying mechanism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Chromatin / chemistry
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Chromosomes, Mammalian / chemistry
  • Chromosomes, Mammalian / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Embryonic Development / genetics
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Luciferases / genetics
  • Luciferases / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Muscle Proteins / genetics*
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Trophoblasts / cytology
  • Trophoblasts / metabolism*


  • Chromatin
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Tead4 protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factors
  • Luciferases