Primary specification of blastocyst trophectoderm by scRNA-seq: New insights into embryo implantation

Sci Adv. 2022 Aug 12;8(32):eabj3725. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abj3725. Epub 2022 Aug 10.


Mechanisms of implantation such as determination of the attachment pole, fetal-maternal communication, and underlying causes of implantation failure are largely unexplored. Here, we performed single-cell RNA sequencing on peri-implantation embryos from both humans and mice to explore trophectoderm (TE) development and embryo-endometrium cross-talk. We found that the transcriptomes of polar and mural TE diverged after embryos hatched from the zona pellucida in both species, with polar TE being more mature than mural TE. The implantation poles show similarities in cell cycle activities, as well as in expression of genes critical for implantation and placentation. Embryos that either fail to attach in vitro or fail to implant in vivo show abnormalities in pathways related to energy production, protein metabolism, and 18S ribosomal RNA m6A methylation. These findings uncover the gene expression characteristics of humans and mice TE differentiation during the peri-implantation period and provide new insights into embryo implantation.