Regulation of the ovine interferon-tau gene by a blastocyst-specific transcription factor, Cdx2

Kazuhiko Imakawa, Min Su Kim, Fuko Matsuda-Minehata, Shohei Ishida, Masateru Iizuka, Masako Suzuki, Kyu Tae Chang, Sherrill E. Echternkamp, Ronald K. Christenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Expression of ovine interferon-tau (olFNτ), a factor essential for the process of maternal recognition of pregnancy in ruminant ungulates, is restricted to the trophoblast. However, the molecular mechanisms by which olFNτ expression is restricted to the trophectoderm have not been fully elucidated. The objective of this study was to determine whether olFNτ gene transcription could be regulated through Cdx2 expression, a transcription factor implicated in the control of cell differentiation in the trophectoderm. Human choriocarcinoma JEG3 cells were co-transfected with an olFτ (-654 base pair, bp)-luciferase reporter (-654-olFN-Luc) construct and several transcription factor expression plasmids. Compared to -654-olFNτ-Luc alone, transcription of the -654-olFNτ-Luc increased more than 30 times when this construct was co-transfected with Cdx2, Ets-2, and c-jun. The degree of transcription decreased to 1/4 levels when the upstream region was reduced to -551 bp, and became minimal with further deletions; this was confirmed with the use of the reporter constructs with mutated c-jun, Ets-2, and/or Cdx2 sites. In trophoblast unrelated NIH3T3 cells, which do not support IFNτ gene transcription, the olFNτ-Luc transcription was enhanced approximately eightfold when the cells were co-transfected with the Cdx2/Ets-2 or Cdx2/Ets-2/c-jun expression plasmids. These findings were confirmed by gel-shift assays examining Cdx binding site on the olFNt gene's upstream region, by immunohistochemical study identifying the presence of Cdx2 in day 15 and 17 ovine conceptuses, and by Western blot detecting Cdx2 in day 17 conceptuses. Our results indicate that olFNτ gene transcription is regulated by Cdx2, and suggest that Cdx2 could be a key molecule in determining olFNτ gene transcription by the trophectoderm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-567
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Reproduction and Development
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Cdx2
  • Interferon-τ
  • JEG3
  • NIH3T3
  • Ovine
  • Trophectoderm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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