ZBED1 Regulates Genes Important for Multiple Biological Processes of the Placenta

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The transcription factor ZBED1 is highly expressed in trophoblast cells, but its functions in the processes of trophoblast and placental biology remain elusive. Here, we characterized the role of ZBED1 in trophoblast cell differentiation using an in vitro BeWo cell model. We demonstrate that ZBED1 is enhanced in its expression early after forskolin-induced differentiation of BeWo cells and regulates many of the genes that are differentially expressed as an effect of forskolin treatment. Specif-ically, genes encoding markers for the differentiation of cytotrophoblast into syncytiotrophoblast and factors essential for trophoblast cell fusion and invasion were negatively regulated by ZBED1, indicating that ZBED1 might be important for maintaining a steady pool of cytotrophoblast cells. In addition, ZBED1 affected genes involved in the regulation of trophoblast cell survival and apoptosis, in agreement with the observed increase in apoptosis upon knockdown of ZBED1 in forskolin-treated BeWo cells. In addition, genes implicated in the differentiation, recruitment, and function of innate immune cells by the placenta were affected by ZBED1, further suggesting a role for this protein in the regulation of maternal immune tolerance. In conclusion, our study implicates ZBED1 in major biological processes of placental biology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number133
Issue number1
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

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© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • BeWo
  • Trophoblast differentiation
  • ZBED1


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