Letter abstract

Nature Genetics 40, 243 - 248 (2008)
Published online: 6 January 2008 | doi:10.1038/ng.2007.51

Role of retrotransposon-derived imprinted gene, Rtl1, in the feto-maternal interface of mouse placenta

Yoichi Sekita1, Hirotaka Wagatsuma2, Kenji Nakamura3, Ryuichi Ono1, Masayo Kagami4, Noriko Wakisaka1,5, Toshiaki Hino3, Rika Suzuki-Migishima3, Takashi Kohda1, Atsuo Ogura6, Tsutomu Ogata4, Minesuke Yokoyama3,7, Tomoko Kaneko-Ishino5 & Fumitoshi Ishino1


Eutherian placenta, an organ that emerged in the course of mammalian evolution, provides essential architecture, the so-called feto-maternal interface, for fetal development by exchanging nutrition, gas and waste between fetal and maternal blood. Functional defects of the placenta cause several developmental disorders, such as intrauterine growth retardation in humans and mice. A series of new inventions and/or adaptations must have been necessary to form and maintain eutherian chorioallantoic placenta, which consists of capillary endothelial cells and a surrounding trophoblast cell layer(s)1. Although many placental genes have been identified2, it remains unknown how the feto-maternal interface is formed and maintained during development, and how this novel design evolved. Here we demonstrate that retrotransposon-derived Rtl1 (retrotransposon-like 1), also known as Peg11 (paternally expressed 11), is essential for maintenance of the fetal capillaries, and that both its loss and its overproduction cause late-fetal and/or neonatal lethality in mice.

  1. Department of Epigenetics, Medical Research Institute, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 2-3-10 Kandasurugadai, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0062, Japan.
  2. Graduate School of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 4259 Nagatsuta-cho, Midori-ku, Yokohama 226-8501, Japan.
  3. Mitsubishi Kagaku Institute of Life Sciences, 11 Minamiooya, Machida, Tokyo 194-8511, Japan.
  4. Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, National Research Institute for Child Health and Development, 2-10-1 Okura, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 157-8535, Japan.
  5. School of Health Sciences, Tokai University, Bohseidai, Isehara, Kanagawa 259-1193, Japan.
  6. BioResource Center, RIKEN, 3-1-1 Koyadai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0074, Japan.
  7. Present address: Brain Research Institute, Niigata University, 1-757 Asahimachi-dori, Niigata 951-8585, Japan.

Correspondence to: Tomoko Kaneko-Ishino5 e-mail: tkanekoi@is.icc.u-tokai.ac.jp

Correspondence to: Fumitoshi Ishino1 e-mail: fishino.epgn@mri.tmd.ac.jp