Cochaperone immunophilin FKBP52 is critical to uterine receptivity for embryo implantation.
ABSTRACT: Embryo implantation in the uterus is a critical step in mammalian reproduction, requiring preparation of the uterus receptive to blastocyst implantation. Uterine receptivity, also known as the window of implantation, lasts for a limited period, and it is during this period blastocysts normally implant. Ovarian steroid hormones estrogen and progesterone (P(4)) are the primary regulators of this process. The immunophilin FKBP52 serves as a cochaperone for steroid hormone nuclear receptors to govern appropriate hormone action in target tissues. Here we show a critical role for FKBP52 in mouse implantation. This immunophilin has unique spatiotemporal expression in the uterus during implantation, and females missing the Fkbp52 gene have complete implantation failure due to lack of attainment of uterine receptivity. The overlapping uterine expression of FKBP52 with nuclear progesterone receptor (PR) in wild-type mice together with reduced P(4) binding to PR, attenuated PR transcriptional activity and down-regulation of several P(4)-regulated genes in uteri of Fkbp52(-/-) mice, establishes this cochaperone as a critical regulator of uterine P(4) function. Interestingly, ovulation, another P(4)-mediated event, remains normal. Collectively, the present investigation provides evidence for an in vivo role for this cochaperone in regulating tissue-specific hormone action and its critical role in uterine receptivity for implantation.
Project description:Immunophilin FK506-binding protein 52 (FKBP52) is a cochaperone that binds to the progesterone receptor (PR) to optimize progesterone (P(4))-PR signaling. We recently showed that Fkbp52-deficient (Fkbp52(-/-)) mice have reduced uterine PR responsiveness and implantation failure which is rescued by excess P(4) supplementation in a genetic background-dependent manner. This finding led us to hypothesize that FKBP52 has functions in addition to optimizing PR activity. Using proteomics analysis, we found that uterine levels of peroxiredoxin-6 (PRDX6), a unique antioxidant, are significantly lower in Fkbp52(-/-) mice than in WT and PR-null (Pgr(-/-)) mice. We also found that Fkbp52(-/-) mice with reduced uterine PRDX6 levels are susceptible to paraquat-induced oxidative stress (OS), leading to implantation failure even with P(4) supplementation. The same dose of paraquat did not interfere with implantation in WT mice. Moreover, treatment with antioxidants alpha-tocopherol and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) attenuated paraquat-induced implantation failure in P(4)-treated Fkbp52(-/-) mice. Functional analyses using mouse embryonic fibroblasts show that Fkbp52 deficiency associated with reduced PRDX6 levels promotes H(2)O(2)-induced cell death, which is reversed by the addition of NAC or by forced expression of PRDX6, suggesting that Fkbp52 deficiency diminishes the threshold against OS by reducing PRDX6 levels. These findings provide evidence that heightened uterine OS in Fkbp52(-/-) females with reduced PRDX6 levels induces implantation failure even in the presence of excess P(4). This study shows that FKBP52-PRDX6 signaling protects pregnancy from overt OS.
Project description:Endometriosis is a common gynecological disease that affects approximately 10% of women of childbearing age. It is characterized by endometrial growth outside the uterus and often results in inflamed lesions, pain, and reduced fertility. Although heightened estrogenic activity and/or reduced progesterone responsiveness are considered to be involved in the etiology of endometriosis, neither the extent of their participation nor the underlying mechanisms are clearly understood. Heterogeneous uterine cell types differentially respond to estrogen and progesterone (P(4)). P(4), primarily acting via its nuclear receptor (PR), activates gene transcription and impacts many reproductive processes. Deletion of Fkbp52, an immunophilin cochaperone for PR, results in uterine-specific P(4) resistance in mice, creating an opportunity to study the unique aspects of P(4) signaling in endometriosis. Here we explored the roles of FKBP52 in this disease using Fkbp52(-/-) mice. We found that the loss of FKBP52 encourages the growth of endometriotic lesions with increased inflammation, cell proliferation, and angiogenesis. We also found remarkable down-regulation of FKBP52 in cases of human endometriosis. Our results provide the first evidence corroborated by genetic studies in mice for a potential role of an immunophilin cochaperone in the etiology of human endometriosis. This investigation is highly relevant for clinical application, particularly because P(4) resistance is favorably indicated in endometriosis and other gynecological diseases.
Project description:Immunophilin FKBP52 serves as a cochaperone to govern normal progesterone (P(4)) receptor (PR) function. Using Fkbp52(-/-) mice, we show intriguing aspects of uterine P(4)/PR signaling during pregnancy. Implantation failure is the major phenotype found in these null females, which is conserved on both C57BL6/129 and CD1 backgrounds. However, P(4) supplementation rescued implantation and subsequent decidualization in CD1, but not C57BL6/129, null females. Surprisingly, experimentally induced decidualization in the absence of blastocysts failed in Fkbp52(-/-) mice on either background even with P(4) supplementation, suggesting that embryonic signals complement uterine signaling for this event. Another interesting finding was that while P(4) at higher than normal pregnancy levels conferred PR signaling sufficient for implantation in CD1 null females, these levels were inefficient in maintaining pregnancy to full term. However, elevating P(4) levels further restored PR signaling to a level optimal for successful term pregnancy with normal litter size. Collectively, the results show that the indispensability of FKBP52 in uterine P(4)/PR signaling is a function of genetic disparity and is pregnancy stage specific. Since there is evidence for a correlation between P(4) supplementation and reduced risks of P(4)-resistant recurrent miscarriages and remission of endometriosis, these findings have clinical implications for genetically diverse populations of women.
Project description:Progesterone (P(4)) signaling is critical for pregnancy. We previously showed that immunopilin FK506 binding protein (FKBP)52 serves as a cochaperone to optimize progesterone receptor (PR) function in the uterus, and its deficiency leads to P(4) resistance in a pregnancy stage-specific and genetic background-dependent manner in mice. In particular, sc placement of SILASTIC implants carrying P(4) rescued implantation failure in CD1 Fkbp52(-/-) mice, but the resorption rate was substantially high at midgestation due to reduced P(4) responsiveness. Because downstream targets of P(4)-FKBP52-PR signaling in the uterus to support pregnancy are not clearly understood, we performed proteomic analysis using Fkbp52(-/-), PR-deficient (Pgr(-/-)), and wild-type (WT) uteri. We found that the expression of galectin-1 (Gal1), an evolutionarily conserved glycan-binding protein, was significantly down-regulated in both Fkbp52(-/-) and Pgr(-/-) uteri compared with WT uteri. During early gestation, Lgals1, which encodes Gal1, was distinctly expressed in stromal and decidual cells. Lgals1 expression was much lower in d 4 Fkbp52(-/-) uteri compared with WT uteri, and this reduction was reversed by P(4) supplementation. More interestingly, concomitant supplementation of recombinant Gal1 significantly suppressed the high resorption rate and leukocyte infiltration at implantation sites in CD1 Fkbp52(-/-) females carrying P(4) SILASTIC implants. These findings suggest that uterine Gal1 is an important downstream target of P(4)-FKBP52-PR signaling in the uterus to support P(4) responsiveness during pregnancy.
Project description:A nonreceptive uterus is a major cause of embryo implantation failure. This study examined the importance of the G?q/11-coupled class of GPCRs as regulators of uterine receptivity. Mice were created lacking uterine G?q and G?11; as a result, signaling by all uterine G?q/11-coupled receptors was disrupted. Reproductive profiling of the knockout females revealed that on d 4 of pregnancy, despite adequate serum progesterone (P4) levels and normal P4 receptor (PR) expression, there was no evidence of PR signaling. This resulted in the down-regulation of heart and neural crest derivatives expressed 2, Kruppel-like factor 15, and cyclin G1 and the subsequent persistent proliferation of the luminal epithelium. Aquaporin (Aqp) 11 was also potently down-regulated, whereas Aqp5/AQP5 expression persisted, resulting in the inhibition of luminal closure. Hypertrophy of the myometrial longitudinal muscle was also dramatically diminished, likely contributing to the observed implantation failure. Further analyses revealed that a major mechanism via which uterine G?q/11 signaling induces PR signaling is through the transcriptional up-regulation of leucine-rich repeat-containing GPCR 4 (Lgr4). LGR4 was previously identified as a trigger of PR activation and signaling. Overall, this study establishes that G?q/11 signaling, in a P4-dependent manner, critically regulates the acquisition of uterine receptivity in the female mouse, and disruption of such signaling results in P4 resistance.-de Oliveira, V., Schaefer, J., Calder, M., Lydon, J. P., DeMayo, F. J., Bhattacharya, M., Radovick, S., Babwah, A. V. Uterine G?q/11 signaling, in a progesterone-dependent manner, critically regulates the acquisition of uterine receptivity in the female mouse.
Project description:Successful embryo implantation requires functional luminal epithelia to establish uterine receptivity and blastocyst-uterine adhesion. During the configuration of uterine receptivity from prereceptive phase, the luminal epithelium undergoes dynamic membrane reorganization and depolarization. This timely regulated epithelial membrane maturation and precisely maintained epithelial integrity are critical for embryo implantation in both humans and mice. However, it remained largely unexplored with respect to potential signaling cascades governing this functional epithelial transformation prior to implantation. Using multiple genetic and cellular approaches combined with uterine conditional Rac1 deletion mouse model, we demonstrated herein that Rac1, a small GTPase, is spatiotemporally expressed in the periimplantation uterus, and uterine depletion of Rac1 induces premature decrease of epithelial apical-basal polarity and defective junction remodeling, leading to disrupted uterine receptivity and implantation failure. Further investigations identified Pak1-ERM as a downstream signaling cascade upon Rac1 activation in the luminal epithelium necessary for uterine receptivity. In addition, we also demonstrated that Rac1 via P38 MAPK signaling ensures timely epithelial apoptotic death at postimplantation. Besides uncovering a potentially important molecule machinery governing uterine luminal integrity for embryo implantation, our finding has high clinical relevance, because Rac1 is essential for normal endometrial functions in women.
Project description:The window of implantation is defined by the inhibition of uterine epithelial proliferation, structural epithelial cell remodeling, and attenuated estrogen (E2) response. These changes occur via paracrine signaling between the uterine epithelium and stroma. Because implantation defects are a major cause of infertility in women, identifying these signaling pathways will improve infertility interventions. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are TGF-? family members that regulate the postimplantation and midgestation stages of pregnancy. In this study, we discovered that signaling via activin-like kinase 3 (ALK3/BMPR1A), a BMP type 1 receptor, is necessary for blastocyst attachment. Conditional knockout (cKO) of ALK3 in the uterus was obtained by producing Alk3(flox) (/flox)-Pgr-cre-positive females. Alk3 cKO mice are sterile and have defects in the luminal uterine epithelium, including increased microvilli density and maintenance of apical cell polarity. Moreover, Alk3 cKO mice exhibit an elevated uterine E2 response and unopposed epithelial cell proliferation during the window of implantation. We determined that dual transcriptional regulation of Kruppel-like factor 15 (Klf15), by both the transforming growth factor ? (TGF-?) transcription factor SMAD family member 4 (SMAD4) and progesterone receptor (PR), is necessary to inhibit uterine epithelial cell proliferation, a key step for embryo implantation. Our findings present a convergence of BMP and steroid hormone signaling pathways in the regulation of uterine receptivity.
Project description:Uterine glands are essential for pregnancy in mice and likely humans, because they secrete or transport bioactive substances that regulate uterine receptivity for blastocyst implantation. In mice, the uterus becomes receptive to blastocyst implantation on day 4, but is refractory by day 5. Here, blastocysts could be recovered from progesterone-induced uterine gland (PUGKO) but not wildtype (WT) mice on day 5 post-mating. Anti-adhesive Muc1 protein and microvilli were present on the luminal epithelium of PUGKO but not WT uteri. A number of known uterine receptivity genes and gland-specific genes were altered in the PUGKO uterus. Next, the uterus and uterine luminal fluid (ULF) were obtained from WT and PUGKO mice on day 3, 4 and 5. Transcriptome analysis revealed that 580 genes were decreased in the PUGKO uterus, however ULF secrotome analysis revealed that many proteins and several amino acids were increased in the PUGKO ULF. Of note, many proteins encoded by many gland-specific genes were not identified in the ULF of WT mice. These results support the ideas that uterine glands secrete factors that regulate ULF homeostasis and interact with other cell types in the uterus to influence uterine receptivity and blastocyst implantation for the establishment of pregnancy.
Project description:An effective bidirectional communication between an implantation-competent blastocyst and the receptive uterus is a prerequisite for mammalian reproduction. The blastocyst will implant only when this molecular cross-talk is established. Here we show that the muscle segment homeobox gene (Msh) family members Msx1 and Msx2, which are two highly conserved genes critical for epithelial-mesenchymal interactions during development, also play crucial roles in embryo implantation. Loss of Msx1/Msx2 expression correlates with altered uterine luminal epithelial cell polarity and affects E-cadherin/?-catenin complex formation through the control of Wnt5a expression. Application of Wnt5a in vitro compromised blastocyst invasion and trophoblast outgrowth on cultured uterine epithelial cells. The finding that Msx1/Msx2 genes are critical for conferring uterine receptivity and readiness to implantation could have clinical significance, because compromised uterine receptivity is a major cause of pregnancy failure in IVF programs.
Project description:Although it has been reported that uterine signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is essential for embryo implantation, the exact roles of uterine epithelial and stromal STAT3 on embryo implantation have not been elucidated. To address this issue, we generated Stat3-floxed/Ltf-iCre (Stat3-eKO), Stat3-floxed/Amhr2-Cre (Stat3-sKO), and Stat3-floxed/Pgr-Cre (Stat3-uKO) mice to delete Stat3 in uterine epithelium, uterine stroma, and whole uterine layers, respectively. We found that both epithelial and stromal STAT3 have critical roles in embryo attachment because all the Stat3-eKO and Stat3-sKO female mice were infertile due to implantation failure without any embryo attachment sites. Stat3-eKO uteri showed indented structure of uterine lumen, indicating the role of epithelial STAT3 in slit-like lumen formation in the peri-implantation uterus. Stat3-sKO uteri exhibited hyper-estrogenic responses and persistent cell proliferation of the epithelium in the peri-implantation uterus, suggesting the role of stromal STAT3 in uterine receptivity. In addition, Stat3-uKO female mice possessed not only the characteristic of persistent epithelial proliferation but also that of indented structure of uterine lumen. These findings indicate that epithelial STAT3 controls the formation of slit-like structure in uterine lumen and stromal STAT3 suppresses epithelial estrogenic responses and cell proliferation. Thus, epithelial and stromal STAT3 cooperatively controls uterine receptivity and embryo attachment through their different pathways.