Asynchronous Embryo Transfer Followed by Comparative Transcriptomic Analysis of Conceptus Membranes and Endometrium Identifies Processes Important to the Establishment of Equine Pregnancy.
ABSTRACT: Preimplantation horse conceptuses require nutrients and signals from histotroph, the composition of which is regulated by luteal progesterone and conceptus-secreted factors. To distinguish progesterone and conceptus effects we shortened the period of endometrial progesterone-priming by asynchronous embryo transfer. Day 8 embryos were transferred to synchronous (day 8) or asynchronous (day 3) recipients, and RNA sequencing was performed on endometrium and conceptuses recovered 6 and 11 days later (embryo days 14 and 19). Asynchrony resulted in many more differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in conceptus membranes (3473) than endometrium (715). Gene ontology analysis identified upregulation in biological processes related to organogenesis and preventing apoptosis in synchronous conceptuses on day 14, and in cell adhesion and migration on day 19. Asynchrony also resulted in large numbers of DEGs related to 'extracellular exosome'. In endometrium, genes involved in immunity, the inflammatory response, and apoptosis regulation were upregulated during synchronous pregnancy and, again, many genes related to extracellular exosome were differentially expressed. Interestingly, only 14 genes were differentially expressed in endometrium recovered 6 days after synchronous versus 11 days after asynchronous transfer (day 14 recipient in both). Among these, KNG1 and IGFBP3 were consistently upregulated in synchronous endometrium. Furthermore bradykinin, an active peptide cleaved from KNG1, stimulated prostaglandin release by cultured trophectoderm cells. The horse conceptus thus responds to a negatively asynchronous uterus by extensively adjusting its transcriptome, whereas the endometrial transcriptome is modified only subtly by a more advanced conceptus.
Project description:This study combined in vitro production of bovine blastocysts, multiple embryo transfer techniques, and a conceptus-endometrial explant co-culture system to test the hypothesis that bovine endometrium exposed to long vs. short day 15 conceptuses would exhibit a different transcriptome profile reflective of potential for successful pregnancy establishment. Bovine endometrial explants collected at the late luteal stage of the estrous cycle were cultured in RPMI medium for 6 h with nothing (control), 100 ng/mL recombinant ovine interferon tau (IFNT), a long day 15 conceptus, or a short day 15 conceptus. Transcriptional profiling of the endometrial explants found that exposure of endometrium to IFNT, long conceptuses, or short conceptuses altered (P < 0.05) expression of 491, 498, and 230 transcripts, respectively, compared to the control. Further analysis revealed three categories of differentially expressed genes (DEG): (i) commonly responsive to exposure to IFNT and conceptuses, irrespective of size (n = 223); (ii) commonly responsive to IFNT and long conceptuses only (n = 168); and genes induced by the presence of a conceptus but independent of IFNT (n = 108). Of those 108 genes, 101 were exclusively induced by long conceptuses and functional analysis revealed that regulation of molecular function, magnesium-ion transmembrane transport, and clathrin coat assembly were the principal gene ontologies associated with these DEG. In conclusion, bovine endometrium responds differently to age-matched conceptuses of varying size in both an IFNT-dependent and -independent manner, which may be reflective of the likelihood of successful pregnancy establishment.
Project description:Conceptus expansion throughout the uterus of mammalian species with a noninvasive epitheliochorial type of placentation is critical establishing an adequate uterine surface area for nutrient support during gestation. Pig conceptuses undergo a unique rapid morphological transformation to elongate into filamentous threads within 1 h, which provides the uterine surface to support development and maintain functional corpora lutea through the production of estrogen. Conceptus production of a unique interleukin 1?, IL1B2, temporally increases during the period of trophoblast remodeling during elongation. CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing was used to knock out pig conceptus IL1B2 expression and the secretion of IL1B2 during the time of conceptus elongation. Trophoblast elongation occurred on day 14 in wild-type (IL1B2+/+) conceptuses but did not occur in ILB2-null (IL1B2-/-) conceptuses. Although the morphological transition of IL1B2-/- conceptuses was inhibited, expression of a number of conceptus developmental genes was not altered. However, conceptus aromatase expression and estrogen secretion were decreased, indicating that IL1B2 may be involved in the spatiotemporal increase in conceptus estrogen synthesis needed for the establishment of pregnancy in the pig and may serve to regulate the proinflammatory response of endometrium to IL1B2 during conceptus elongation and attachment to the uterine surface.
Project description:Interferon Tau (IFNT), the conceptus-derived pregnancy recognition signal in cattle, significantly modifies the transcriptome of the endometrium. However, the endometrium also responds to IFNT-independent conceptus-derived products. The aim of this study was to determine what proteins are produced by the bovine conceptus that may facilitate the pregnancy recognition process in cattle. We analysed by mass spectrometry the proteins present in conceptus-conditioned media (CCM) after 6 h culture of Day 16 bovine conceptuses (n = 8) in SILAC media (arginine- and lysine-depleted media supplemented with heavy isotopes) and the protein content of extracellular vesicles (EVs) isolated from uterine luminal fluid (ULF) of Day 16 pregnant (n = 7) and cyclic (n = 6) cross-bred heifers on day 16. In total, 11,122 proteins were identified in the CCM. Of these, 5.95% (662) had peptides with heavy labelled amino acids, i.e., de novo synthesised by the conceptuses. None of these proteins were detected in the EVs isolated from ULF. Pregnancy-associated glycoprotein 11, Trophoblast Kunitz domain protein 1 and DExD-Box Helicase 39A were de novo produced and present in the CCM from all conceptuses and in previously published CCM data following 6 and 24 h. A total of 463 proteins were present in the CCM from all the conceptuses in the present study, and after 6 and 24 h culture in a previous study, while expression of their transcripts was not detected in endometrium indicating that they are likely conceptus-derived. Of the proteins present in the EVs, 67 were uniquely identified in ULF from pregnant heifers; 35 of these had been previously reported in CCM from Day 16 conceptuses. This study has narrowed a set of conceptus-derived proteins that may be involved in EV-mediated IFNT-independent embryo-maternal communication during pregnancy recognition in cattle.
Project description:This study investigated bovine conceptus-induced modifications to the endometrial transcriptome related to effects of interferon tau (IFNT), conceptus origin (in vivo vs. in vitro), and conceptus sex. In vitro (IVF) or in vivo (superovulation and artificial insemination, AI) produced blastocysts were transferred into recipient heifers on day 7 of the estrous cycle. On day 15, IVF- or AI-derived conceptuses were obtained by uterine flushing and individually placed on endometrial explants in media for 6 h. Explants were also cultured with media alone as a control or media containing 100 ng/mL IFNT. Total explant RNA was analyzed by RNA-Seq. Incubation of endometrium with IFNT or IVF- or AI-derived conceptuses changed (P ? 0.001) expression of 491, 498, and 576 transcripts, respectively, compared to the control. Further, 369 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were common between explants exposed to IFNT or a conceptus. A total of 240 DEGs were uniquely altered by conceptuses (IVF- and AI-derived) but not IFNT. Of these transcripts, 46 were shared between the IVF and AI groups, while 61 and 133 were specific to IVF and AI conceptuses, respectively. Five genes [melanophilin (MLPH), prominin-2 (PROM2), myeloid associated differentiation marker (MYADM), vomeronasal 1 receptor 4 like (VN1R4L) and 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 1A (HTR1A)] were more abundant in endometrium exposed to female compared to male conceptuses (P < 0.001). A single gene [ADP-ribosylation factor like GTPase 4C (ARL4C)] was more abundant in response to male conceptuses (P < 0.001) than female conceptuses. These data support the hypothesis that conceptus regulation of gene expression in the endometrium is complex and involves factors other than IFNT that may have a biological role in pregnancy establishment.
Project description:Transforming growth factor (TGF) ? and its receptors are expressed at the conceptus-maternal interface during early pregnancy in the pig. The present studies were conducted to examine: (1) the effect of conceptus products on TGF?1 mRNA expression and protein concentration in the porcine endometrium using in vivo and in vitro models, and (2) the effect of TGF?1 on proliferation of porcine trophoblast cells in vitro. During in vivo experiments, gilts with one surgically detached uterine horn were slaughtered on days 11 or 14 of the estrous cycle and pregnancy. For in vitro studies, endometrial explants and luminal epithelial (LE) cells co-cultured with stromal (ST) cells were treated with conceptus-exposed medium (CEM). Moreover, porcine trophoblast cells were treated with TGF?1, and the number of viable cells was measured. On day 11, the presence of conceptuses had no effect on TGF?1 mRNA expression, but decreased the TGF?1 protein concentration in the connected uterine horn compared with the detached uterine horn. In contrast to day 11, on day 14 after estrus, TGF?1 mRNA expression and protein content in the endometrium collected from the gravid uterine horn were greater when compared with the contralateral uterine horn. The treatment of endometrial slices with CEM resulted in greater TGF?1 mRNA expression and protein secretion. LE cells responded to CEM with an increased TGF?1 mRNA level. Moreover, TGF?1 stimulated the proliferation of day 14 trophoblast cells. In summary, porcine conceptuses may regulate TGF?1 synthesis in the endometrium at the time of implantation. TGF?1, in turn, may promote conceptus development by increasing the proliferation of trophoblast cells.
Project description:In cattle, maternal recognition of pregnancy occurs on Day 16 via secretion of interferon tau (IFNT) by the conceptus. The endometrium can distinguish between embryos with different developmental competencies. In eutherian mammals, X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) is required to ensure an equal transcriptional level of most X-linked genes for both male and female embryos in adult tissues, but this process is markedly different in cattle than mice. We examined how sexual dimorphism affected conceptus transcript abundance and amino acid composition as well as the endometrial transcriptome during the peri-implantation period of pregnancy. Of the 5132 genes that were differentially expressed on Day 19 in male compared to female conceptuses, 2.7% were located on the X chromosome. Concentrations of specific amino acids were higher in the uterine luminal fluid of male compared to female conceptuses, while female conceptuses had higher transcript abundance of specific amino acid transporters (SLC6A19 and SLC1A35). Of note, the endometrial transcriptome was not different in cattle gestating a male or a female conceptus. These data support the hypothesis that, far from being a blastocyst-specific phenomenon, XCI is incomplete before and during implantation in cattle. Despite differences in transcript abundance and amino acid utilization in male versus female conceptuses, the sex of the conceptus itself does not elicit a different transcriptomic response in the endometrium.
Project description:In cattle, the blastocyst hatches from the zona pellucida on days 8-9 and then forms a conceptus that grows and elongates into an ovoid and then filamentous shape between days 9 and 16. The growing conceptus synthesizes and secretes prostaglandins (PGs) and interferon ? (IFNT). Our hypothesis was that the ovoid conceptus exerts a local effect on the endometrium prior to maternal recognition of pregnancy on day 16 in cattle. In study one, synchronized cyclic heifers received no blastocysts or 20 in vitro-produced blastocysts on day 7 and their uteri were collected on day 13. IFNT was not detected by RIA in the uterine flushing samples of pregnant heifers containing multiple ovoid conceptuses; however, total PG levels were higher in the uterine lumen of pregnant heifers than in that of cyclic heifers. Microarray analysis revealed that the expression of 44 genes was increased in the endometria of day 13 pregnant heifers when compared with that in the endometria of cyclic heifers, and many of these genes were classical Type I IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs). In studies two and three, the effects of infusing PGs at the levels produced by the elongating day 14 conceptus into the uterine lumen of cyclic ewes on ISG expression in the endometrium were determined. Results indicated that the infusion of PGs increased the abundance of several ISGs in the endometrium. These studies support the hypothesis that the day 13 conceptus secretes PGs that act locally in a paracrine manner to alter gene expression in the endometrium prior to pregnancy recognition in cattle.
Project description:Biochemical and/or physical communication between the conceptus and the uterine endometrium is required for conceptus implantation to the maternal endometrium, leading to placentation and the establishment of pregnancy. We previously reported that in vitro co-culture system with bovine trophoblast CT-1 cells, primary uterine endometrial epithelial cells (EECs), and uterine flushings (UFs) mimics in vivo conceptus attachment process. To identify molecules in UFs responsible for this change, we first characterized protein contents of UFs from day 17 cyclic (C17) and pregnant (P17) ewes through the use of two dimensional-Polyacrylamide Gel Electrophoresis (2D-PAGE), followed by Liquid Chromatography-tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analysis. These analyses identified 266 proteins specific for P17 UFs, from which 172 proteins were identified as exosomal proteins. Among 172 exosomal proteins, 8 proteins that had been identified as exosomal proteins were chosen for further analysis, including macrophage-capping protein (CAPG), aldo-keto reductase family 1, member B1 protein (AKR1B1), bcl-2-like protein 15 (BCL2L15), carbonic anhydrase 2 (CA2), isocitrate dehydrogenase 2 (IDH2), eukaryotic translation elongation factor 2 (EEF2), moesin (MSN), and ezrin (EZR). CAPG and AKR1B1 were again confirmed in P15 and P17 UFs, and more importantly CAPG and AKR1B1, mRNA and protein, were found only in P15 and P17 conceptuses. Moreover, exosomes were isolated from C15, C17, P15, or P17 UFs. Only P15 and P17 exosomes, originated from the conceptus, contained interferon tau (IFNT) as well as CAPG and AKR1B1, and up-regulated STAT1, STAT2, MX1, MX2, BST2, and ISG15 transcripts in EECs. These observations indicate that in addition to endometrial derived exosomes previously described, conceptus-derived exosomes are present in UFs and could function to modify endometrial response. These results suggest that exosomes secreted from conceptuses as well as endometria are involved in cell to cell interactions for conceptus implantation to the maternal endometrium.
Project description:The aim of this study was to identify conceptus-derived proteins, in addition to IFNT, that may facilitate pregnancy recognition in cattle. Analysis of the protein content of the uterine luminal fluid (ULF) from cyclic heifers on Day 16 by nano liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry identified 334 proteins. Comparison of these data with 299 proteins identified in the ULF of pregnant heifers on Day 16 identified 85 proteins only present in the ULF of pregnant heifers. Analysis of Day 16 conceptus-conditioned culture medium revealed the presence of 1005 proteins of which 30 proteins were unique to ULF from Day 16 pregnant heifers. Of these 30 proteins, 12 had mRNA expression values at least 2-fold higher in abundance (P < 0.05) in the conceptus compared to the endometrium (ARPC5L, CAPG, CKMT1, CSTB, HSPA8, HSPE1, LGALS3, MSN, NUTF2, P4HB, PRKAR2A, TKT) as determined by RNA sequencing. In addition, genes that have a significant biological interaction with the proteins (ACO2, CKMT1, CSTB, EEF2, GDI1, GLB1, GPLD1, HNRNPA1, HNRNPA2B1, HNRNPF, HSPA8, HSPE1, IDH2, KRT75, LGALS3, MSN, NUTF2, P4HB, PRKAR2A, PSMA4, PSMB5, PSMC4, SERPINA3, TKT) were differentially expressed in the endometrium of pregnant compared to cyclic heifers during the pregnancy recognition period (Days 16-18). These results indicate that 30 proteins unique to ULF from pregnant heifers and produced by short-term in vitro cultured Day 16 conceptuses could potentially be involved in facilitating the interactions between the conceptus and the endometrium during the pregnancy recognition period.
Project description:The ruminant conceptus undergoes a period of elongation that is required for maternal recognition of pregnancy, prior to attaching to the endometrium. The purpose of these studies was to investigate the role of proline-rich 15 (PRR15) in the sheep conceptus by examining mRNA expression, protein localization, and the effect of PRR15 mRNA degradation. Conceptuses were collected on Days 11, 13, 15, 16, 17, 21, and 30 after mating. Quantitative RT-PCR showed expression of PRR15 mRNA corresponded with the process of trophoblast elongation, with peak expression occurring on Days 15 and 16. A recombinant ovine PRR15 was generated and used to create polyclonal antibodies against PRR15. Immunohistochemistry of a Day 15 conceptus indicated that PRR15 was localized predominantly in the nucleus of the trophectoderm and extraembryonic primitive endoderm. To test whether PRR15 was required during early conceptus development, RNA interference was employed. Blastocysts collected on Day 8 after mating were infected with a lentivirus expressing a short-hairpin RNA (shRNA) that targeted PRR15 mRNA for degradation, an shRNA containing a three-nucleotide mismatch to PRR15 mRNA, or a lentivirus expressing no shRNA. After infection, blastocysts were transferred into recipient ewes and collected back on Day 15 of gestation. Although the majority of the control and mismatched shRNA-treated conceptuses elongated and survived to Day 15, none of the embryos treated with the lentivirus expressing shRNA against PRR15 mRNA elongated, and most died. In conclusion, expression of PRR15 mRNA occurred during a narrow window of conceptus development, and degradation of PRR15 mRNA led to conceptus demise or abnormal development.