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Developmental arrest of Blimp1/Prdm1 mutant embryos at around embryonic day 10.5 (E10.5) has been attributed to placental disturbances. Here we investigate Blimp1/Prdm1 requirements in the trophoblast cell lineage. Loss of function disrupts specification of the invasive spiral artery-associated trophoblast giant cells (SpA-TGCs) surrounding maternal blood vessels and severely compromises the ability of the spongiotrophoblast layer to expand appropriately, secondarily causing collapse of the underlying labyrinth layer. Additionally, we identify a population of proliferating Blimp1(+) diploid cells present within the spongiotrophoblast layer. Lineage tracing experiments exploiting a novel Prdm1.Cre-LacZ allele demonstrate that these Blimp1(+) cells give rise to the mature SpA-TGCs, canal TGCs, and glycogen trophoblasts. In sum, the transcriptional repressor Blimp1/Prdm1 is required for terminal differentiation of SpA-TGCs and defines a lineage-restricted progenitor cell population contributing to placental growth and morphogenesis.

Original publication




Journal article


Genes Dev

Publication Date





2063 - 2074


Animals, Cell Differentiation, Female, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Giant Cells, Mice, Placenta, Positive Regulatory Domain I-Binding Factor 1, Pregnancy, Stem Cells, Transcription Factors, Trophoblasts