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Tengteng Li, Jiajia Fei, Huihui Yu, Xingxing Wang, Dan Li, and Zongzhi Yin

The mechanisms underlying pre-labor uterine quiescence and uterine atony during overdistention are unclear. TREK1 (a two-pore domain potassium channel) and hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) are activated by mechanical stretch, and their expression is upregulated by decreased uterine contractility. HIF-1α is a nuclear factor which regulates numerous target proteins, but whether it regulates TREK1 during uterine stretch to cause uterine quiescence and/or atony is unclear. We investigated uterine contractility at different gestational stages in rats, as well as in non-pregnant uteri, which were induced by prolonged stretching and hypoxia. We also assessed the effects of incubating the uteri with or without echinomycin or L-methionine. Moreover, we analyzed HIF-1α and TREK1 expression levels in each group, as well as at various gestational stages of pregnant human uteri. We found that contractility was significantly decreased in pregnant uteri when compared with non-pregnant uteri, and this decrease was associated with increases in HIF-1α and TREK1 expression levels. HIF-1α and TREK1 expression levels in human uteri increased with the gestational length. Decreased uterine contractility and increased HIF-1α and TREK1 expression levels were also observed in non-pregnant rat uteri under 8 g of stretching tension or hypoxia. Inhibition of hypoxia with echinomycin restored normal uterine contractility, while HIF-1α and TREK1 protein expression remained reduced. TREK1 inhibition with L-methionine also restored uterine contractility under tension or hypoxia. In conclusion, we demonstrated that prolonged stretching induces myometrial hypoxia, increases TREK1 expression, and relaxes the myometrium, which may contribute to uterine quiescence and atony.

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Zubing Cao, Tengteng Xu, Xu Tong, Dandan Zhang, Chengxue Liu, Yiqing Wang, Di Gao, Lei Luo, Ling Zhang, Yunsheng Li, and Yunhai Zhang

HASPIN kinase-catalyzed phosphorylation of histone H3 on threonine 3 (H3T3p) directs the activity and localization of chromosomal passenger complex (CPC) and spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) to regulate chromosome condensation and segregation in both mitosis and meiosis. However, the function of HASPIN kinase in the meiotic maturation of porcine oocytes is not yet known. Here, we found that HASPIN mRNA is constantly expressed in porcine oocyte maturation and subsequent early embryo development. H3T3p is highly enriched on chromosomes at germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD) stage and thereafter maintains a low level in progression through metaphase I (MI) to metaphase II (MII). Correspondingly, H3T3p was completely abolished in oocytes treated with an inhibitor of HASPIN kinase. Functionally, inhibition of HASPIN activity led to a significant reduction in the rate of oocyte meiotic maturation and the limited cumulus expansion. Additionally, HASPIN inhibition caused both spindle disorganization and chromosome misalignment in oocytes at MI and MII stage. Importantly, HASPIN inhibition severely prevented deacetylation of several highly conserved lysine (K) residues of histone H3 and H4 including H3K9, H3K14, H4K5, H4K8, H4K12 and H4K16 on the metaphase chromosomes during oocyte meiotic maturation. Taken together, these results demonstrate that HASPIN kinase regulates porcine oocyte meiotic maturation via modulating histone deacetylation.