The role of extracellular vesicles (EVs), specifically exosomes, in intercellular communication likely plays a key role in placental orchestration of pregnancy and maternal immune sensing of the fetus. While murine models are powerful tools to study pregnancy and maternal-fetal immune interactions, in contrast to human placental exosomes, the content of murine placental and pregnancy exosomes remains largely understudied. Using a recently developed in vitro culture technique, murine trophoblast stem cells derived from B6 mice were differentiated into syncytial-like cells. EVs from the conditioned media, as well as from pregnant and non-pregnant sera, were enriched for exosomes. The RNA composition of these murine trophoblast-derived and pregnancy-associated exosome-enriched-EVs (ExoE-EVs) was determined using RNA-sequencing analysis and expression levels confirmed by qRT-PCR. Differentially abundant miRNAs were detected in syncytial differentiated ExoE-EVs, particularly from the X chromosome cluster (mmu-miR-322-3p, mmu-miR-322-5p, mmu-miR-503-5p, mmu-miR-542-3p, and mmu-miR-450a-5p). These were confirmed to be increased in pregnant mouse sera ExoE-EVs by qRT-PCR analysis. Interestingly, fifteen miRNAs were only present within the pregnancy-derived ExoE-EVs compared to non-pregnant controls. Mmu-miR-292-3p and mmu-miR-183-5p were noted to be some of the most abundant miRNAs in syncytial ExoE-EVs and were also present at higher levels in pregnant versus non-pregnant sera ExoE-EVs. The bioinformatics tool, MultiMir, was employed to query publicly available databases of predicted miRNA-target interactions. This analysis reveals that the X-chromosome miRNAs are predicted to target ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis and intracellular signaling pathways. Knowing the cargo of placental and pregnancy-specific ExoE-EVs as well as the predicted biological targets informs studies using murine models to examine not only maternal-fetal immune interactions but also the physiologic consequences of placental-maternal communication.
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