Placental failure in mice lacking the mammalian homolog of glial cells missing, GCMa

Jörg Schreiber, Eva Riethmacher-Sonnenberg, Dieter Riethmacher, Elisabeth E. Tuerk, Janna Enderich, Michael R. Bösl, Michael Wegner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Citations (Scopus)


The GCM family of transcription factors consists of Drosophila melanogaster GCM, an important regulator of gliogenesis in the fly, and its two mammalian homologs, GCMa and GCMb. To clarify the function of these mammalian homologs, we deleted GCMa in mice. Genetic ablation of murine GCMa (mGCMa) is embryonic lethal, with mice dying between 9.5 and 10 days postcoitum. At the time of death, no abnormalities were apparent in the embryo proper. Nervous system development, in particular, was not impaired, as might have been expected in analogy to Drosophila GCM. Instead, placental failure was the cause of death. In agreement with the selective expression of mGCMa in labyrinthine trophoblasts, mutant placentas did not develop a functional labyrinth layer, which is necessary for nutrient and gas exchange between maternal and fetal blood. Only a few fetal blood vessels entered the placenta, and these failed to thrive and branch normally. Labyrinthine trophoblasts did not differentiate. All other layers of the placenta, including spongiotrophoblast and giant cell layer, formed normally. Our results indicate that mGCMa plays a critical role in trophoblast differentiation and the signal transduction processes required for normal vascularization of the placenta.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2466-2474
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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