Microarray expression profiling of a collection of 15,000 mouse genes with placental and embryonic RNAs revealed candidates for placental-enriched genes, three of which we have confirmed and further characterized. One, Plac1, strongly expressed in all trophoblast-derived cells in the placenta, has been described earlier (Genomics 68 (2000) 305). Here we report that of the other two, Plac8 expression is restricted to the spongiotrophoblast layer during development, whereas Plac9 is weakly expressed though highly enriched in placenta. For both, cDNAs with complete open reading frames were recovered and exon-intron structures inferred from comparisons of mouse cDNA and genomic sequence. The predicted proteins (112 and 108 amino acids) both contain putative signal peptides, with a coiled-coil segment of mPLAC9 as the only other detected motif. Genomic sequence comparisons reveal that in addition to an apparent pseudogene on chromosome 1, Plac8 is expressed at mouse cytoband 5e3. It is tightly conserved in human in a syntenically equivalent ortholog at 4q21.23. Plac9 is present in a single copy on chromosome 14, with a syntenically equivalent human ortholog at 10q22.3. Putative promoter regions up to 10 kb 5′ of the transcription units for Plac1, Plac8, and Plac9 contain sites for widely-expressed transcription factors which, by analogy to other instances, may be sufficient to explain placental enrichment.
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