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(1/2449) Mrj encodes a DnaJ-related co-chaperone that is essential for murine placental development.

We have identified a novel gene in a gene trap screen that encodes a protein related to the DnaJ co-chaperone in E. coli. The gene, named Mrj (mammalian relative of DnaJ) was expressed throughout development in both the embryo and placenta. Within the placenta, expression was particularly high in trophoblast giant cells but moderate levels were also observed in trophoblast cells of the chorion at embryonic day 8.5, and later in the labyrinth which arises from the attachment of the chorion to the allantois (a process called chorioallantoic fusion). Insertion of the ROSAbetageo gene trap vector into the Mrj gene created a null allele. Homozygous Mrj mutants died at mid-gestation due to a failure of chorioallantoic fusion at embryonic day 8.5, which precluded formation of the mature placenta. At embryonic day 8.5, the chorion in mutants was morphologically normal and expressed the cell adhesion molecule beta4 integrin that is known to be required for chorioallantoic fusion. However, expression of the chorionic trophoblast-specific transcription factor genes Err2 and Gcm1 was significantly reduced. The mutants showed no abnormal phenotypes in other trophoblast cell types or in the embryo proper. This study indicates a previously unsuspected role for chaperone proteins in placental development and represents the first genetic analysis of DnaJ-related protein function in higher eukaryotes. Based on a survey of EST databases representing different mouse tissues and embryonic stages, there are 40 or more DnaJ-related genes in mammals. In addition to Mrj, at least two of these genes are also expressed in the developing mouse placenta. The specificity of the developmental defect in Mrj mutants suggests that each of these genes may have unique tissue and cellular activities.  (+info)

(2/2449) An ultrastructural study of implantation in the golden hamster. II. Trophoblastic invasion and removal of the uterine epithelium.

Sixty six implantation sites from 18 golden hamsters were examined with light and electron microscopy between 4 and 5 1/2 days of pregnancy (post-ovulation). At 4 days some blastocysts began to invade the uterine epithelium, with trophoblastic processes penetrating and engulfing portions of the uterine epithelium. The majority of epithelial cells appeared normal before invasion, although at two implantation sites three or four adjoining epithelial cells were necrotic before penetration by the trophoblast. In general the epithelial cells were degenerating at the time the trophoblast invaded the epithelium. Inclusions, representing portions of the engulfed epithelium, and varying in size and electron density, were present throughout the invading trophoblast cells at 4 1/2 and 5 days of pregnancy. At 5 1/2 days the uterine epithelium had disappeared and the embryo was now almost completely surrounded by blood lacunae.  (+info)

(3/2449) Expression of trophinin, tastin, and bystin by trophoblast and endometrial cells in human placenta.

Trophinin, tastin, and bystin comprise a complex mediating a unique homophilic cell adhesion between trophoblast and endometrial epithelial cells at their respective apical cell surfaces. In this study, we prepared mouse monoclonal antibodies specific to each of these molecules. The expression of these molecules in the human placenta was examined immunohistochemically using the antibodies. In placenta from the 6th week of pregnancy, trophinin and bystin were found in the cytoplasm of the syncytiotrophoblast in the chorionic villi, and in endometrial decidual cells at the utero placental interface. Tastin was exclusively present on the apical side of the syncytiotrophoblast. Tissue sections were also examined by in situ hybridization using RNA probes specific to each of these molecules. This analysis showed that trophoblast and endometrial epithelial cells at the utero placental interface express trophinin, tastin, and bystin. In wk 10 placenta, trophinin and bystin were found in the intravillous cytotrophoblast, while tastin was not found in the villi. After wk 10, levels of all three proteins decreased and then disappeared from placental villi.  (+info)

(4/2449) Human uterine lymphocytes.

During the luteal phase and the early months of pregnancy, there is a dense mucosal infiltration of CD56+ natural killer (NK) cells. These uterine NK cells have a phenotype (CD56bright, CD16-, mCD3-) which distinguishes them from peripheral blood NK cells (CD56dim, CD16bright, mCD3-). The uterine NK cells are in close association with extravillous trophoblast (EVT) cells which infiltrate into the decidua and maternal spiral arteries. This subpopulation of trophoblast expresses two human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I molecules, HLA-G and HLA-C. Circulating NK cells express receptors for HLA class I molecules. We have recently found evidence that similar receptors are present on decidual NK cells belonging to both the Killer Inhibitory Receptor (KIR) and CD94 families. The repertoire of NK receptors expressed varies between different women. The findings indicate that decidual NK cells do have receptors for trophoblast HLA class I molecules. Experiments are underway to determine the effects of this interaction on NK cell function.  (+info)

(5/2449) The CTLA-4 gene is expressed in placental fibroblasts.

In order to elucidate the mechanisms that ensure survival of the allogeneic fetus, we are investigating the expression pattern of genes that are involved in peripheral self-tolerance in tissues at the maternal-fetal interface. Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) is a negative regulator of T cell activation and may modulate peripheral self-tolerance. Previously, we reported the preferential transmission of maternally-inherited shorter alleles at a 3'-UTR microsatellite locus to liveborn children, but random transmission of paternally-inherited alleles, suggesting that CTLA-4 may be involved in the maintenance of tolerance at the maternal-fetal interface. In this report, we demonstrate that CTLA-4 mRNA and protein are indeed expressed in fetal tissues at the maternal-fetal interface throughout gestation.  (+info)

(6/2449) Role of proteases in implantation.

Implantation of the embryo into the endometrium is a critical step in the establishment of pregnancy and the failure of embryos to implant is a major limiting factor in the success of reproductive technologies. Furthermore, one or more of the molecules of importance at implantation could provide a suitable target for post-coital contraception. While there is considerable species variation in the extent to which the trophoblast invades the maternal endometrium and makes contact with the maternal blood supply, many of the molecular mechanisms are conserved among species. Three families of protease are involved in the matrix degradation required for implantation: the cysteine, serine and matrix metalloproteinases. Other proteases are required for the activation of regulatory molecules. Although trophoblast from all species appears to have a high invasive potential, this is limited by the presence of partner protease inhibitors, the presence of which provides restraint to this invasion. It is the balance between the proteases and their inhibitors at any focal point that determines the site and extent of trophoblast invasion. This review examines the literature regarding proteases and their inhibitors at early implantation sites across a range of species with very different forms of placentation and evaluates their common features and their dissimilarities.  (+info)

(7/2449) CD9 is expressed in extravillous trophoblasts in association with integrin alpha3 and integrin alpha5.

The CD9 molecule is a 24-27 kDa cell surface glycoprotein, which may be related to Schwann cell migration and adhesion. In this study, we examined the expression of CD9 in human extravillous trophoblasts, which invade into the endometrium during implantation and placentation. CD9 was detected immunohistochemically on the extravillous trophoblasts in the cell columns of first trimester placentae, but not on villous trophoblasts. In the second and third trimester, CD9 was highly expressed on the extravillous trophoblasts in the basal plate of placentae, and in the chorion laeve in the fetal membrane of term placentae. The molecular mass of CD9 in the chorion laeve was shown to be 27 kDa by Western blotting. The mRNA of CD9 was also detected in the chorion laeve by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Proteins were purified from chorion laeve by affinity chromatography with anti-integrin alpha3 and alpha5 monoclonal antibodies and Western blotting, revealed that CD9 was associated with both integrins. These findings indicate that CD9 is a differentiation-related molecule present in the extravillous trophoblasts. Since it is associated with integrin alpha5 which has been proposed to regulate trophoblast invasion, CD9 may be implicated in trophoblast invasion at the feto-maternal interface.  (+info)

(8/2449) CD9 is involved in invasion of human trophoblast-like choriocarcinoma cell line, BeWo cells.

The CD9 molecule is expressed on human extravillous trophoblasts, which invade the endometrium during implantation and placentation. To elucidate the role of CD9 in trophoblastic function, we investigated the expression of CD9 protein and mRNA in BeWo cells, a human trophoblast-like choriocarcinoma cell line, using immunohistochemistry, Western blotting and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). When BeWo cells were cultured with anti-CD9 monoclonal antibodies (mAb), their invasion through the extracellular matrices was significantly enhanced in a dose-dependent manner. Cell proliferation and human chorionic gonadotrophin production were unaffected. On the other hand, culture in the presence of mAb against integrins alpha3, alpha5 and beta1, which partially block the interaction with the extracellular matrices, inhibited BeWo cell invasion. Anti-CD9 monoclonal antibody had a stimulatory effect on BeWo cell invasion in the presence of anti-integrin alpha3 antibody. In contrast, it had no effect in the presence of mAb against integrins alpha5 and beta1, which were also highly expressed on BeWo cells. These findings suggest that CD9 has a function connected with the invasive properties of BeWo cells, which is partially mediated by integrin alpha5beta1. This may relate to the involvement of CD9 in trophoblastic invasion.  (+info)