Miguel Constância

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Imprinted genes in mammals are expressed from only one of the parental chromosomes, and are crucial for placental development and fetal growth. The insulin-like growth factor II gene (Igf2) is paternally expressed in the fetus and placenta. Here we show that deletion from the Igf2 gene of a transcript (P0) specifically expressed in the labyrinthine(More)
The placenta has evolved in eutherian mammals primarily to provide nutrients for the developing fetus. The genetic control of the regulation of supply and demand for maternal nutrients is not understood. In this review we argue that imprinted genes have central roles in controlling both the fetal demand for, and the placental supply of, maternal nutrients.(More)
A number of recent studies have provided new insights into mechanisms that regulate genomic imprinting in the mammalian genome. Regions of allele-specific differential methylation (DMRs) are present in all imprinted genes examined. Differential methylation is erased in germ cells at an early stage of their development, and germ-line-specific methylation(More)
In mammals, imprinted genes have an important role in feto-placental development. They affect the growth, morphology and nutrient transfer capacity of the placenta and, thereby, control the nutrient supply for fetal growth. In particular, the reciprocally imprinted Igf2-H19 gene complex has a central role in these processes and matches the placental(More)
Plasticity in developmental programming has evolved in order to provide the best chances of survival and reproductive success to the organism under changing environments. Environmental conditions that are experienced in early life can profoundly influence human biology and long-term health. Developmental origins of health and disease and life-history(More)
Igf2 and H19 are closely linked, reciprocally imprinted genes on mouse distal chromosome 7. The paternally expressed Igf2 encodes a potent fetal growth factor and the maternally expressed H19 encodes a non-coding RNA (refs 1,2). Shared endoderm-specific enhancers 3' to H19 are necessary for transcription of the maternal copy of H19 and the paternal copy of(More)
The mouse insulin-like growth factor 2 (Igf2) locus is a complex genomic region that produces multiple transcripts from alternative promoters. Expression at this locus is regulated by parental imprinting. However, despite the existence of putative imprinting control elements in the Igf2 upstream region, imprinted transcriptional repression is abolished by(More)
Environmental factors interact with the genome throughout life to determine gene expression and, consequently, tissue function and disease risk. One such factor that is known to play an important role in determining long-term metabolic health is diet during critical periods of development. Epigenetic regulation of gene expression has been implicated in(More)
The mammalian fetus is unique in its dependence during gestation on the supply of maternal nutrients through the placenta. Maternal supply and fetal demand for nutrients need to be fine tuned for healthy growth and development of the fetus along its genetic trajectory. An altered balance between supply and demand can lead to deviations from this trajectory(More)
Many animal studies and human epidemiological findings have shown that impaired growth in utero is associated with physiological abnormalities in later life and have linked this to tissue programming during suboptimal intrauterine conditions at critical periods of development. However, few of these studies have considered the contribution of the placenta to(More)