The trophoblast cells of a developing embryo give rise to extra-embryonic tissues that support embryonic growth, such as the placenta. The epigenetic modification DNA methylation is critical for the regulation of embryonic development. Branco et al. show that maternal DNA methylation also plays a role in trophoblast development. DAN methylation is required for the regulation of genes involved in cell adhesion and migration, processes required for proper placental formation that are perturbed in placental disorders such as pre-eclampsia.
Dev. Cell 10.1016/j.devcel.2015.12.027 (2015).