The Ets2 transcription factor is essential for the development of the mouse placenta and for generating signals for embryonic mesoderm and axis formation. Using a conditional targeted Ets2 allele, we show that Ets2 is essential for trophoblast stem (TS) cells self-renewal. Inactivation of Ets2 results in TS cell slower growth, increased expression of a subset of differentiation-associated genes and decreased expression of several genes implicated in TS self-renewal. Among the direct TS targets of Ets2 is Cdx2, a key master regulator of TS cell state. Thus Ets2 contributes to the regulation of multiple genes important for maintaining the undifferentiated state of TS cells and as candidate signals for embryonic development.
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