Trophoblast-specific dna methylation occurs after the segregation of the trophectoderm and inner cell mass in the mouse periimplantation embryo

Momo O. Nakanishi, Koji Hayakawa, Kazuhiko Nakabayashi, Kenichiro Hata, Kunio Shiota, Satoshi Tanaka*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


The first cell differentiation in the mammalian development separates the trophoblast and embryonic cell lineages, resulting in the formation of the trophectoderm (TE) and inner cell mass (ICM) in blastocysts. Although a lower level of global DNA methylation in the genome of the TE compared with ICM has been suggested, the dynamics of the DNA methylation profile during TE/ICM differentiation has not been elucidated. To address this issue, first we identified tissue-dependent and differentially methylated regions (T-DMRs) between trophoblast stem (TS) and embryonic stem (ES) cells. Most of these TS-ES T-DMRs were also methylated differentially between trophoblast and embryonic tissues of embryonic day (E) 6.5 mouse embryos. Furthermore, we found that the human genomic regions homologous to mouse TS-ES T-DMRs were methylated differentially between human placental tissues and ES cells. Collectively, we defined them as cell-lineage-based T-DMRs between trophoblast and embryonic cell lineages (T-E T-DMRs). Then, we examined TE and ICM cells isolated from mouse E3.5 blastocysts. Interestingly, all T-DMRs examined, including the Elf5, Pou5f1 and Nanog loci, were in the nearly unmethylated status in both TE and ICM and exhibited no differences. The present results suggest that the establishment of DNA methylation profiles specific to each cell lineage follows the first morphological specification. Together with previous reports on asymmetry of histone modifications between TE and ICM, the results of the current study imply that histone modifications function as landmarks for setting up cell-lineage-specific differential DNA methylation profiles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-182
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Feb
Externally publishedYes


  • Blastocyst
  • Dna methylation
  • Placenta
  • Trophectoderm
  • Trophoblast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research


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