Placental hypoperfusion causes cellular hypoxia and is associated with fetal growth restriction and preeclampsia. In response to hypoxia, the repertoire of genes expressed in placental trophoblasts changes, which influences key cellular processes such as differentiation and fusion. Diverse miRNAs were recently found to modulate the cellular response to hypoxia. Here we show that miR-424, which was previously shown to be upregulated by hypoxia in nontrophoblastic cell types, is uniquely downregulated in primary human trophoblasts by hypoxia or chemicals known to hinder cell differentiation. We also identify FGFR1 as a direct target of miR-424 in human trophoblasts. This effect is unique to miR-424 and is not seen with other members of this miRNA family that are expressed in trophoblasts, such as miR-15 and miR-16. Our findings establish a unique role for miR-424 during differentiation of human trophoblasts.
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Vol. 89 • No. 2