1. Developmental Biology
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Single nuclei RNA-seq of mouse placental labyrinth development

  1. Bryan Marsh
  2. Robert Blelloch  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of California, San Francisco, United States
Research Article
  • Cited 7
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Cite this article as: eLife 2020;9:e60266 doi: 10.7554/eLife.60266


The placenta is the interface between mother and fetus in all eutherian species. However, our understanding of this essential organ remains incomplete. A substantial challenge has been the syncytial cells of the placenta, which have made dissociation and independent evaluation of the different cell types of this organ difficult. Here, we address questions concerning the ontogeny, specification, and function of the cell types of a representative hemochorial placenta by performing single nuclei RNA sequencing (snRNA-seq) at multiple stages of mouse embryonic development focusing on the exchange interface, the labyrinth. Timepoints extended from progenitor driven expansion through terminal differentiation. Analysis by snRNA-seq identified transcript profiles and inferred functions, cell trajectories, signaling interactions, and transcriptional drivers of all but the most highly polyploid cell types of the placenta. These data profile placental development at an unprecedented resolution, provide insights into differentiation and function across time, and provide a resource for future study.

Data availability

Sequencing data have been deposited in GEO under accession code GSE152248.

The following data sets were generated

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Bryan Marsh

    Department of Urology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Robert Blelloch

    Department of Urology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, United States
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-1975-0798


Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (P50 HD055764)

  • Robert Blelloch

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.


Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) (Approval number: AN173513) of the University of California - San Francisco.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Steve Charnock-Jones

Publication history

  1. Received: June 22, 2020
  2. Accepted: October 30, 2020
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: November 3, 2020 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: November 16, 2020 (version 2)


© 2020, Marsh & Blelloch

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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