CITED2 is a transcriptional co-factor with important roles in many organs of the developing mammalian embryo. Complete deletion of this gene causes severe malformation of the placenta, and results in significantly reduced embryonic growth and death from E14.5. The placenta is a complex organ originating from cells derived from three lineages: the maternal decidua, the trophectoderm, and the extra-embryonic mesoderm. Cited2 is expressed in many of these cell types, but its exact role in the formation of the placenta is unknown. Here we use a conditional deletion approach to remove Cited2 from overlapping subsets of trophectoderm and extra-embryonic mesoderm. We find that Cited2 in sinusoidal trophoblast giant cells and syncytiotrophoblasts is likely to have a non-cell autonomous role in patterning of the pericytes associated with the embryonic capillaries. This function is likely to be mediated by PDGF signaling. Furthermore, we also identify that loss of Cited2 in syncytiotrophoblasts results in the subcellular mislocalization of one of the major lactate transporters in the placenta, SLC16A3 (MCT4). We hypothesize that the embryonic growth retardation observed in Cited2 null embryos is due in part to a disorganized embryonic capillary network, and in part due to abnormalities of the nutrient transport functions of the feto-maternal interface.
- PDGF signaling