Estrogen-related receptor γ (ERRγ) serves a criticalO2-dependent regulatory role in the differentiation of human cytotrophoblasts to syncytiotrophoblast. In this study, we investigated expression of genes encoding tissue kallikrein (KLK1) and voltage-gated K+ channels (KV7) during differentiation of human trophoblasts in culture and the roles of ERRγ and O2 tension in their regulation. Expression of KLK1 and the KV7 channel subunits, KCNQ1, KCNE1, KCNE3, and KCNE5, increased during differentiation of cultured human trophoblast cells in a 20% O2 environment. Notably, together with ERRγ, expression of KLK1, KCNQ1, KCNE1, KCNE3, and KCNE5 was markedly reduced when cells were cultured in a hypoxic environment (2% O2). Moreover, upon transduction of trophoblast cells with short hairpin RNAs for endogenous ERRγ, KLK1, KCNQ1, KCNE1, and KCNE3 expression was significantly decreased. Promoter and site-directed mutagenesis studies in transfected cells identified putative ERRγ response elements within the KLK1 and KCNE1 5′-flanking regions required for ERRγ-stimulated transcriptional activity. Binding of endogenous ERRγ to these ERRγ response elements increased during trophoblast differentiation in culture and was inhibited by hypoxia. The KV7 blocker linopirdine reduced human chorionic gonadotropin secretion and aggregation of cultured human trophoblasts, suggesting a possible role of KV7 channels in cell fusion and differentiation. Illumina gene expression arrays of cultured human trophoblast cells revealed several genes upregulated during syncytiotrophoblast differentiation and downregulated upon ERRγ knockdown involved in cell differentiation, adhesion, and synthesis of steroid and peptide hormones required for placental development and function. Collectively, these findings suggest that ERRγ mediates O2-dependent expression of genes involved in human trophoblast differentiation, function, and vascular homeostasis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology