Murine trophoblast-derived and pregnancy-associated exosome-enriched extracellular vesicle microRNAs: Implications for placenta driven effects on maternal physiology

Adrianne L. Stefanski, Nadine Martinez, Lisa K. Peterson, Tiffany J. Callahan, Eric Treacy, Marisa Luck, Samantha F. Friend, Amy Hemesch, Emin Maltepe, Tzu Phang, Leonard L. Dragone, Virginia D. Winn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


The role of extracellular vesicles (EVs), specifically exosomes, in intercellular communication likely plays a key role in placental orchestration of pregnancy and maternal immune sensing of the fetus. While murine models are powerful tools to study pregnancy and maternal-fetal immune interactions, in contrast to human placental exosomes, the content of murine placental and pregnancy exosomes remains largely understudied. Using a recently developed in vitro culture technique, murine trophoblast stem cells derived from B6 mice were differentiated into syncytial-like cells. EVs from the conditioned media, as well as from pregnant and non-pregnant sera, were enriched for exosomes. The RNA composition of these murine trophoblast-derived and pregnancy-associated exosome-enriched-EVs (ExoE-EVs) was determined using RNA-sequencing analysis and expression levels confirmed by qRT-PCR. Differentially abundant miRNAs were detected in syncytial differentiated ExoE-EVs, particularly from the X chromosome cluster (mmu-miR-322-3p, mmu-miR-322-5p, mmu-miR-503-5p, mmu-miR-542-3p, and mmu-miR-450a-5p). These were confirmed to be increased in pregnant mouse sera ExoE-EVs by qRT-PCR analysis. Interestingly, fifteen miRNAs were only present within the pregnancy-derived ExoE-EVs compared to non-pregnant controls. Mmu-miR-292-3p and mmu-miR-183-5p were noted to be some of the most abundant miRNAs in syncytial ExoE-EVs and were also present at higher levels in pregnant versus non-pregnant sera ExoE-EVs. The bioinformatics tool, MultiMir, was employed to query publicly available databases of predicted miRNA-target interactions. This analysis reveals that the X-chromosome miRNAs are predicted to target ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis and intracellular signaling pathways. Knowing the cargo of placental and pregnancy-specific ExoE-EVs as well as the predicted biological targets informs studies using murine models to examine not only maternal-fetal immune interactions but also the physiologic consequences of placental-maternal communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0210675
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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