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Investigating the Activity of transposon Derived Regulatory Sequences in the placenta

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "InvADeRS" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: 327 MILE END ROAD
city: LONDON
postcode: E1 4NS

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Total cost 224˙933 €
 EC max contribution 224˙933 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2018
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-RI
 Starting year 2019
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2019-05-01   to  2021-04-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    QUEEN MARY UNIVERSITY OF LONDON UK (LONDON) coordinator 224˙933.00


 Project objective

Aberrant epigenetic regulation of placental function is implicated in several complications of pregnancy, such as preeclampsia, recurrent pregnancy loss and fetal growth restriction. Notably, the placenta has a unique epigenetic landscape, permissive for the activity of transposable element (TE) derived DNA sequences. TEs are often co-opted by the host genome as cis-regulatory elements, driving tissue- and species-specific gene expression programs. Indeed, TEs contribute many placental-specific enhancers in mouse trophoblast. However, the presence and role of a similar TE-derived regulatory network has not been explored in human trophoblast. As TEs are highly species-specific, such a network in humans would be expected to regulate species-specific placental characteristics, such as the deep interstitial invasion unique to great apes. TE-derived regulatory elements may therefore be important for placental homeostasis and be involved in diseases characterised by aberrant placental invasion. I propose to map TE-derived cis-regulatory sequences in human trophoblast ex vivo using their histone modification signatures. I will assess the regulatory potential of candidate TEs through transcriptomic analyses and motif analysis to reveal transcription factor binding sites, highlighting promising candidates of importance in the human placenta. I will then directly test the function of top TE candidates using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing of the TEs in trophoblast in vitro, and measuring changes in expression of target genes. Finally, I will elucidate epigenetic and coding differences between complicated and normal control placentas at the functional regulatory TE loci I find, to identify correlations with disease. This project will provide a comprehensive analysis of an as-yet unexplored aspect of human placental epigenetic regulation, and potentially identify novel causes of common unexplained complications of human pregnancy.

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