Expression analysis of Cdx2 and Pou5f1 in a marsupial, the stripe-faced dunnart, during early development


The first lineage allocation during mouse development forms the trophectoderm and inner cell mass, in which Cdx2 and Pou5f1 display reciprocal expression. Yet Cdx2 is not required for trophectoderm specification in other mammals, such as the human, cow, pig, or in two marsupials, the tammar and opossum. The role of Cdx2 and Pou5f1 in the first lineage allocation of Sminthopsis macroura, the stripe-faced dunnart, is unknown. In this study, expression of Cdx2 and Pou5f1 during oogenesis, development from cleavage to blastocyst stages, and in the allocation of the first three lineages was analyzed for this dunnart. Cdx2 mRNA was present in late antral-stage oocytes, but not present again until Day 5.5. Pou5f1 mRNA was present from primary follicles to zygotes, and then expression resumed starting at the early unilaminar blastocyst stage. All cleavage stages and the pluriblast and trophoblast cells co-expressed CDX2 and POU5F1 proteins, which persisted until early stages of hypoblast formation. Hypoblast cells also show co-localisation of POU5F1 and CDX2 once they were allocated, and this persisted during their division and migration. Our studies suggest that CDX2, and possibly POU5F1, are maternal proteins, and that the first lineage to differentiate is the trophoblast, which differentiates to trophectoderm after shell loss one day before implantation. In the stripe-faced dunnart, cleavage cells, as well as trophoblast and pluriblast cells, are polarized, suggesting the continued presence of CDX2 in both lineages until late blastocyst stages may play a role in the formation and maintenance of polarity. Mol. Reprod. Dev. 83: 108–123, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



Publication Date


Publication Title

Molecular Reproduction and Development



Document Type




Hypoblast, Lineage allocation, Sminthopsis macroura, Trophectoderm