Mapping cis-regulatory elements in the midgestation mouse placenta

Sci Rep. 2021 Nov 16;11(1):22331. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-01664-x.


The placenta is a temporary organ that provides the developing fetus with nutrients, oxygen, and protection in utero. Defects in its development, which may be caused by misregulated gene expression, can lead to devastating outcomes for the mother and fetus. In mouse, placental defects during midgestation commonly lead to embryonic lethality. However, the regulatory mechanisms controlling expression of genes during this period have not been thoroughly investigated. Therefore, we generated and analyzed ChIP-seq data for multiple histone modifications known to mark cis-regulatory regions. We annotated active and poised promoters and enhancers, as well as regions generally associated with repressed gene expression. We found that poised promoters were associated with neuronal development genes, while active promoters were largely associated with housekeeping genes. Active and poised enhancers were associated with placental development genes, though only active enhancers were associated with genes that have placenta-specific expression. Motif analysis within active enhancers identified a large network of transcription factors, including those that have not been previously studied in the placenta and are candidates for future studies. The data generated and genomic regions annotated provide researchers with a foundation for future studies, aimed at understanding how specific genes in the midgestation mouse placenta are regulated.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin Immunoprecipitation Sequencing
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Histone Code
  • Mice
  • Organ Specificity
  • Placenta / metabolism*
  • Placentation*
  • Pregnancy
  • Response Elements*