Mouse Trophoblast Cells Can Provide IFN-Based Antiviral Protection to Embryonic Stem Cells via Paracrine Signaling [INNATE IMMUNITY AND INFLAMMATION]

The blastocyst is the preimplantation stage embryo that consists of two major components: the inner cell mass (ICM) and the trophectoderm (TE). The ICM gives rise to the fetus and some extraembryonic tissues whereas the TE contributes to development of the placenta. Previous studies have demonstrated that both human and mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) derived from the ICM are deficient in expressing type I IFNs in response to viral infection. In this study, we investigated the IFN response in mouse trophoblast stem cells (TSCs) and their in vitro differentiated trophoblasts (TSC-TBs). In this study, we report that, unlike ESCs, TSCs have a functional IFN system. They can express type I IFNs in response to viral stimuli and express IFN-stimulated genes in response to type I IFNs. TSC-TBs have a further developed IFN system and acquired the ability to express specialized type III IFN-. Furthermore, TSCs and TSC-TBs can provide ESCs with antiviral activity against Chikungunya, West Nile, and Zika virus infection, as demonstrated with a novel coculture model that simulates the temporal and spatial relationship between the ICM and the TE in a blastocyst. Taken together, our data demonstrate that mouse ESCs can respond to type I IFNs and gain IFN-based antiviral protection from TSCs and TSC-TBs via paracrine signaling mechanisms even though they themselves are unable to express type I IFNs.

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