• Authors: Hayakawa, K., Terada, K., Takahashi, T., Oana, H., Washizu, M., Tanaka, S.
  • Year: 2018
  • Journal: Sci Rep 8 5811
  • Applications: in vitro / DNA / jetPRIME
  • Cell type: Trophoblast stem cells


Trophoblast giant cells (TGCs) are one of the cell types that form the placenta and play multiple essential roles in maintaining pregnancy in rodents. TGCs have large, polyploid nuclei resulting from endoreduplication. While previous studies have shown distinct gene expression profiles of TGCs, their chromatin structure remains largely unknown. An appropriate combination of canonical and non-canonical histones, also known as histone variants, allows each cell to exert its cell type-specific functions. Here, we aimed to reveal the dynamics of histone usage and chromatin structure during the differentiation of trophoblast stem cells (TSCs) into TGCs. Although the expression of most genes encoding canonical histones was downregulated, the expression of a few genes encoding histone variants such as H2AX, H2AZ, and H3.3 was maintained at a relatively high level in TGCs. Both the micrococcal nuclease digestion assay and nucleosome stability assay using a microfluidic device indicated that chromatin became increasingly loose as TSCs differentiated. Combinatorial experiments involving H3.3-knockdown and -overexpression demonstrated that variant H3.3 resulted in the formation of loose nucleosomes in TGCs. In conclusion, our study revealed that TGCs possessed loose nucleosomes owing to alterations in their histone composition during differentiation.