Paternally expressed retrotransposon Gag-like 1 gene, RTL1, is one of the crucial elements for placental angiogenesis in horses

Pouya Dini, Mariano Carossino, Udeni B.R. Balasuriya, Hossam El-Sheikh Ali, Shavahn C. Loux, Alejandro Esteller-Vico, Kirsten E. Scoggin, Alan T. Loynachan, Theodore Kalbfleisch, Ward De Spiegelaere, Peter Daels, Barry A. Ball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


RTL1 (retrotransposon Gag-like 1) is an essential gene in the development of the human and murine placenta. Several fetal and placental abnormalities such as intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and hydrops conditions have been associated with altered expression of this gene. However, the function of RTL1 has not been identified. RTL1 is located on a highly conserved region in eutherian mammals. Therefore, the genetic and molecular analysis in horses could hold important implications for other species, including humans. Here, we demonstrated that RTL1 is paternally expressed and is localized within the endothelial cells of the equine (Equus caballus) chorioallantois. We developed an equine placental microvasculature primary cell culture and demonstrated that RTL1 knockdown leads to loss of the sprouting ability of these endothelial cells. We further demonstrated an association between abnormal expression of RTL1 and development of hydrallantois. Our data suggest that RTL1 may be essential for placental angiogenesis, and its abnormal expression can lead to placental insufficiency. This placental insufficiency could be the reason for IUGR and hydrops conditions reported in other species, including humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1386-1399
Number of pages14
JournalBiology of Reproduction
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Society for the Study of Reproduction. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:


  • IUGR
  • RTL1
  • angiogenesis
  • chorioallantois
  • hydrops
  • paternally expressed gene
  • placenta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine


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