Adherens junction proteins in the hamster uterus: their contributions to the success of implantation.
ABSTRACT: The adherens junction (AJ) is important for maintaining uterine structural integrity, composition of the luminal environment, and initiation of implantation by virtue of its properties of cell-cell recognition, adhesion, and establishment of cell polarity and permeability barriers. In this study, we investigated the uterine changes of AJ components E-cadherin, beta-catenin, and alpha-catenin at their mRNA and protein levels, together with the cellular distribution of meprinbeta, phospho-beta-catenin, and active beta-catenin proteins, in hamsters that show only ovarian progesterone-dependent uterine receptivity and implantation. By in situ hybridization and immunofluorescence, we have demonstrated that uterine epithelial cells expressed three of these AJ proteins and their mRNAs prior to and during the initial phase of implantation. Immunofluorescence study showed no change in epithelial expression patterns of uterine AJ proteins from Days 1 to 5 of pregnancy. With advancement of the implantation process, AJ components were primarily expressed in cells of the secondary decidual zone (SDZ), but not in the primary decidual zone (PDZ). In contrast, we noted strong expression of beta-catenin and alpha-catenin proteins in the PDZ, but not in the SDZ, of mice. Taken together, these results suggest that AJ proteins contribute to uterine barrier functions by cell-cell adhesion to ensure protection of the embryo. In addition, cleavage of E-cadherin by meprinbeta might contribute to weakening uterine epithelial cell-cell contact for blastocyst implantation. We also report that the nuclear localization of active beta-catenin from Day 4 onward in hamsters implies that beta-catenin/Wnt-signal transduction is activated in the uterus during implantation and decidualization.
Project description:Appropriate regulation of regional uterine stromal cell decidualization in implantation, at the mesometrial triangle and secondary decidual zone (SDZ) locations, is critical for successful pregnancy, although the regulatory mechanisms remain poorly understood. In this regard, the available animal models that would specifically allow mechanistic analysis of site-specific decidualization are strikingly limited. Our study found that heightened expression of FoxM1, a Forkhead box transcription factor, is regulated during decidualization, and its conditional deletion in mice reveals failure of implantation with regional decidualization defects such as a much smaller mesometrial decidua with enlarged SDZ. Analysis of cell cycle progression during decidualization both in vivo and in vitro demonstrates that the loss of FoxM1 elicits diploid cell deficiency with enhanced arrests prior to mitosis and concomitant upregulation of polyploidy. We further showed that Hoxa10 and cyclin D3, two decidual markers, control transcriptional regulation and intra-nuclear protein translocation of FoxM1 in polyploid cells, respectively. Overall, we suggest that proper regional decidualization and polyploidy development requires FoxM1 signaling downstream of Hoxa10 and cyclin D3.
Project description:The present investigation examined the spatiotemporal expression of estrogen receptors (ER-alpha and ER-beta) and progesterone receptor (PR) in the periimplantation mouse uterus (days 1-8). ER-alpha messenger RNA (mRNA) was detected at much higher levels in the periimplantation uterus compared with that of ER-beta mRNA, the levels of which were very low in all uterine cells during this period. Results of in situ hybridization demonstrated expression of ER-alpha mRNA primarily in the luminal and glandular epithelia on days 1 and 2 of pregnancy. On days 3 and 4, the accumulation was localized primarily in stromal cells in addition to its presence in the epithelium. Following implantation on day 5, the accumulation of this mRNA was more condensed in the luminal and glandular epithelia, but declined in the subluminal epithelial stroma at the sites of implanting embryos. On days 6-8, the accumulation of ER-alpha mRNA was primarily localized in the secondary decidual zone (SDZ) with more intense localization in the subepithelial cells at the mesometrial pole. In contrast, signals were very low to undetectable in the primary decidual zone (PDZ), and no signals were detected in implanting embryos. The undifferentiated stroma underneath the myometrium also showed positive signals. The immunolocalization of ER-alpha protein correlated with the mRNA localization. Western blot analysis showed down-regulation of ER-alpha in day 8 decidual cell extracts consistent with the down-regulation of ER-alpha mRNA in decidual cells immediately surrounding the embryo on this day. The expression pattern of PR was also dynamic in the periimplantation uterus. On day 1, the accumulation of PR mRNA was very low to undetectable, whereas only a modest level of accumulation in the epithelium was noted on day 2. On days 3 and 4, the accumulation of this mRNA was detected in both the epithelium and stroma. In contrast, the expression was restricted only to the stroma with increased signals at the sites of implantation on day 5. On days 6-8, PR mRNA accumulation increased dramatically throughout the deciduum. The localization of immunoreactive PR correlated with the mRNA distribution in the periimplantation uterus. Taken together, the results demonstrate that the expression of ER-alpha, ER-beta, and PR is differentially regulated in the periimplantation mouse uterus. This compartmentalized expression of ER and PR provides information regarding the sites of coordinated effects ofestrogen and progesterone in the preparation of the uterus for implantation and decidualization during early pregnancy.
Project description:Scribble (Scrib) is a scaffold protein with multifunctional roles in PCP, tight junction and Hippo signaling. This study shows that Scrib is expressed in stromal cells around the implantation chamber following implantation. Stromal cells transform into epithelial-like cells to form the avascular primary decidual zone (PDZ) around the implantation chamber (crypt). The PDZ creates a permeability barrier around the crypt restricting immune cells and harmful agents from maternal circulation to protect embryonic health. The mechanism underlying PDZ formation is not yet known. We found that uterine deletion of Scrib by a Pgr-Cre driver leads to defective PDZ formation and implantation chamber (crypt) formation, compromising pregnancy success. Interestingly, epithelial-specific Scrib deletion by a lactoferrin-Cre (Ltf-Cre) driver does not adversely affect PDZ formation and pregnancy success. These findings provide evidence for a previously unknown function of stromal Scrib in PDZ formation, potentially involving ZO-1 and Hippo signaling.
Project description:The transcriptional repressor Blimp1 controls cell fate decisions in the developing embryo and adult tissues. Here we describe Blimp1 expression and functional requirements within maternal uterine tissues during pregnancy. Expression is robustly up-regulated at early post-implantation stages in the primary decidual zone (PDZ) surrounding the embryo. Conditional inactivation results in defective formation of the PDZ barrier and abnormal trophectoderm invasion. RNA-Seq analysis demonstrates down-regulated expression of genes involved in cell adhesion and markers of decidualisation. In contrast, genes controlling immune responses including IFN? are up-regulated. ChIP-Seq experiments identify candidate targets unique to the decidua as well as those shared across diverse cell types including a highly conserved peak at the Csf-1 gene promoter. Interestingly Blimp1 inactivation results in up-regulated Csf1 expression and macrophage recruitment into maternal decidual tissues. These results identify Blimp1 as a critical regulator of tissue remodelling and maternal tolerance during early stages of pregnancy.
Project description:Coordinated uterine-embryonic axis formation and decidual remodeling are hallmarks of mammalian post-implantation embryo development. Embryonic-uterine orientation is determined at initial implantation and synchronized with decidual development. However, the molecular mechanisms controlling these events remain elusive despite its discovery a long time ago. In the present study, we found that uterine-specific deletion of Rbpj, the nuclear transducer of Notch signaling, resulted in abnormal embryonic-uterine orientation and decidual patterning at post-implantation stages, leading to substantial embryo loss. We further revealed that prior to embryo attachment, Rbpj confers on-time uterine lumen shape transformation via physically interacting with uterine estrogen receptor (ER?) in a Notch pathway-independent manner, which is essential for the initial establishment of embryo orientation in alignment with uterine axis. While at post-implantation stages, Rbpj directly regulates the expression of uterine matrix metalloproteinase in a Notch pathway-dependent manner, which is required for normal post-implantation decidual remodeling. These results demonstrate that uterine Rbpj is essential for normal embryo development via instructing the initial embryonic-uterine orientation and ensuring normal decidual patterning in a stage-specific manner. Our data also substantiate the concept that normal mammalian embryonic-uterine orientation requires proper guidance from developmentally controlled uterine signaling.
Project description:Three-dimensional (3D) imaging of tissue sections is a new frontier in mass spectrometry imaging (MSI). Here, we report on fast 3D imaging of lipids and metabolites associated with mouse uterine decidual cells and embryo at the implantation site on day 6 of pregnancy. 2D imaging of 16-20 serial tissue sections deposited on the same glass slide was performed using nanospray desorption electrospray ionization (nano-DESI)-an ambient ionization technique that enables sensitive localized analysis of analytes on surfaces without special sample pretreatment. In this proof-of-principle study, nano-DESI was coupled to a high-resolution Q-Exactive instrument operated at high repetition rate of >5 Hz with moderate mass resolution of 35,000 (m/?m at m/z 200), which enabled acquisition of the entire 3D image with a spatial resolution of ?150 ?m in less than 4.5 h. The results demonstrate localization of acetylcholine in the primary decidual zone (PDZ) of the implantation site throughout the depth of the tissue examined, indicating an important role of this signaling molecule in decidualization. Choline and phosphocholine-metabolites associated with cell growth-are enhanced in the PDZ and abundant in other cellular regions of the implantation site. Very different 3D distributions were obtained for fatty acids (FA), oleic acid and linoleic acid (FA 18:1 and FA 18:2), differing only by one double bond. Localization of FA 18:2 in the PDZ indicates its important role in decidualization while FA 18:1 is distributed more evenly throughout the tissue. In contrast, several lysophosphatidylcholines (LPC) observed in this study show donut-like distributions with localization around the PDZ. Complementary distributions with minimal overlap were observed for LPC 18:0 and FA 18:2 while the 3D image of the potential precursor phosphatidylcholine 36:2 (PC 36:2) showed a significant overlap with both LPC 18:0 and FA 18:2.
Project description:Beta-catenin is an essential component of two cellular systems: cadherin-based adherens junctions (AJ) and the Wnt signaling pathway. A functional or physical connection between these beta-catenin pools has been suggested in previous studies, but not conclusively demonstrated to date. To further examine this intersection, we treated A431 cell colonies with lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), which forces rapid and synchronized dissociation of AJ. A combination of immunostaining, time-lapse microscopy using photoactivatable-GFP-tagged beta-catenin, and image analyses indicate that the cadherin-bound pool of beta-catenin, internalized together with E-cadherin, accumulates at the perinuclear endocytic recycling compartment (ERC) upon AJ dissociation, and can be translocated into the cell nucleus upon Wnt pathway activation. These results suggest that the ERC may be a site of residence for beta-catenin destined to enter the nucleus, and that dissociation of AJ may influence beta-catenin levels in the ERC, effectively affecting beta-catenin substrate levels available downstream for the Wnt pathway. This intersection provides a mechanism for integrating cell-cell adhesion with Wnt signaling and could be critical in developmental and cancer processes that rely on beta-catenin-dependent gene expression.
Project description:Purpose:We aimed to evaluate how matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) regulate the trophoblast invasion and placentation. Methods:Female rats were divided into the estrous cycle and early pregnancy day groups. Obtained uterine tissues and implantation sites were processed for immunofluorescence and real-time PCR examinations. Results:The mRNA expression of MMP-7 was higher than MMP-2 and MMP-9. Immunofluorescence findings confirmed that MMP-2, MMP-7, and MMP-9 were localized in the endometrial stroma, while MMP-7 was high in glandular and lining epithelial cells throughout the entire estrous cycle. However, their immunolocalizations and mRNA expressions were dramatically changed with the early pregnancy days. The MMP-7 reached very strong immunostaining in the giant trophoblast cells (GTCs), and the cytoplasm of mature and differentiating decidual cells, whereas MMP-2 and MMP-9 were mostly seen in the primary decidual zone (PDZ), GTCs, and the endothelium of blood vessels. Conclusions:All three MMPs seemed likely to be a key mediator of trophoblast invasion into the decidual region as well as angiogenesis during the placentation process. Due to the strong and wide expression of MMP-7 in the mature decidua, it could be suggested that MMP-7 is important for decidual ECM remodeling and it might be used as a new marker of decidual reaction.
Project description:With implantation, mouse stromal cells begin to transform into epithelial-like cells surrounding the implantation chamber forming an avascular zone called the primary decidual zone (PDZ). In the mouse, the PDZ forms a transient, size-dependent permeable barrier to protect the embryo from maternal circulating harmful agents. The process of decidualization is critical for pregnancy maintenance in mice and humans. Mice deficient in cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, show compromised PDZ with dysregulated angiogenic factors, resulting in the retention of blood vessels and macrophages. This phenotype is replicated in Cnr1-/- but not in Cnr2-/-mice. In vitro decidualization models suggest that Cnr1 levels substantially increase in mouse and human decidualizing stromal cells, and that neutralization of CB1 signaling suppresses decidualization and misregulates angiogenic factors. Taken together, we propose that implantation quality depends on appropriate angiogenic events driven by the integration of CB2 in endothelial cells and CB1 in decidual cells.
Project description:Embryo-uterine interaction during early pregnancy critically depends on the coordinated expression of numerous genes at the site of implantation. The epigenetic mechanism through DNA methylation (DNM) plays a major role in the control of gene expression, although this regulatory event remains unknown in uterine implantation sites. Our analysis revealed the presence of DNA methyltransferase 1 (Dnmt1) in mouse endometrial cells on the receptive d 4 of pregnancy and early postattachment (d 5) phase, whereas Dnmt3a had lower abundant expression. Both Dnmt1 and Dnmt3a were coordinately expressed in decidual cells on d 6-8. 5-Methycytosine showed a similar expression pattern to that of Dnmt1. The preimplantation inhibition of DNM by 5-aza-2'-deoxycytodine was not antagonistic for embryonic attachment, although endometrial stromal cell proliferation at the site of implantation was down-regulated, indicating a disturbance with the postattachment decidualization event. Indeed, the peri- or postimplantation inhibition of DNM caused significant abrogation of decidualization, with concomitant loss of embryos. We next identified decidual genes undergoing alteration of DNM using methylation-sensitive restriction fingerprinting. One such gene, Chromobox homolog 4, an epigenetic regulator in the polycomb group protein family, exhibited hypomethylation in promoter DNA and increased expression with the onset of decidualization. Furthermore, inhibition of DNM resulted in enhanced expression of hypermethylated genes (Bcl3 and Slc16a3) in the decidual bed as compared with control, indicating aberration of gene expression may be associated with DNM-inhibition-induced decidual perturbation. Overall, these results suggest that uterine DNM plays a major role for successful decidualization and embryo development during early pregnancy.