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  • Author: Toshihiro Konno x
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S M Khorshed Alam, Toshihiro Konno and Michael J Soares

Prolactin family 8, subfamily a, member 2 (PRL8A2; also called decidual prolactin-related protein; dPRP) is a member of the expanded prolactin family. PRL8A2 is expressed in the uterine decidua and contributes to pregnancy-dependent adaptations to hypoxia. The purpose of this study was to identify gene targets for PRL8A2 action within the uteroplacental compartment. Affymetrix DNA microarray analysis was performed for RNA samples from WT and Prl8a2 null tissues. Validation of the DNA microarray was performed using quantitative RT-PCR. Nine genes were confirmed with decreased expression in Prl8a2 null tissues (e.g. Klk7, Rimklb, Arhgef6, Calm4, Sprr2h, Prl4a1, Ccl27, Lipg, and Htra3). These include potential decidual, endothelial and trophoblast cell targets positively regulated by PRL8A2. A significant upregulation of Derl3, Herpud1, Creld2, Hsp90b1, Ddit3 and Hspa5 was identified in Prl8a2 null tissues, reflecting an increased endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response. ER stress genes were prominently expressed in the uterine decidua. We propose that PRL8A2 is a mediator of progesterone-dependent modulation of intrauterine responses to physiological stressors.

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Sachiko Yamakoshi, Rulan Bai, Takashi Chaen, Atsushi Ideta, Yoshito Aoyagi, Toshihiro Sakurai, Toshihiro Konno and Kazuhiko Imakawa

In the course of experiments to identify and characterize the factors that function in bovine conceptuses during peri-attachment periods, various transcripts related to the epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) were found. In this study, RNA was extracted from different sets of days 17, 20, and 22 (day 0=day of estrous) bovine conceptuses and subjected to real-time PCR analysis as well as Western blotting, from which abundances of N-cadherin (CDH2), vimentin, matrix metalloproteinase 2 (gelatinase A, 72 kDa gelatinase, 72 kDa type IV collagenase) (MMP2), and matrix metallopeptidase 9 (gelatinase B, 92 kDa gelatinase, 92 kDa type IV collagenase) (MMP9) mRNAs were determined on day 22, concurrent with (CDH1) mRNA and protein downregulation. Transcription factors in EMT processes were then analyzed and changes in snail homolog 2 (Drosophila) (SNAI), zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1), zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 2 (ZEB2), twist homolog 1 (Drosophila) (TWIST1), twist homolog 2 (Drosophila) (TWIST2), and Kruppel-like factor 8 (KLF8) transcripts were found in day 22 conceptuses, while confirming SNAI2 expression by Western blotting. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that the day 22 trophectoderm expressed the mesenchymal markers N-cadherin and vimentin as well as the epithelial marker cytokeratin. In attempts to identify the molecular mechanisms by which the trophectoderm expressed EMT-related genes, growth factor receptors associated with EMT were analyzed. Upregulation of the growth factor receptor transcripts, fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR1), platelet-derived growth factor receptor, alpha polypeptide (PDGFRA), platelet-derived growth factor receptor, beta polypeptide (PDGFRB), and transforming growth factor, beta receptor II (70/80 kDa) (TGFBR2) mRNAs, was found on day 22. The analysis was extended to determine the integrin (ITG) transcripts and found high levels of integrin, alpha 4 (antigen CD49D, alpha 4 subunit of VLA-4 receptor) (ITGA4), integrin, alpha 8 (ITGA8), integrin, beta 3 (platelet glycoprotein IIIa, antigen CD61) (ITGB3), and integrin, beta 5 (ITGB5) mRNAs on day 22. These observations indicate that after the conceptus–endometrium attachment, EMT-related transcripts as well as the epithelial marker cytokeratin were present in the bovine trophectoderm and suggest that the implantation process for noninvasive trophoblasts requires not only extracellular matrix expression but also partial EMT.

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Hafiza Khatun, Yasuhiko Wada, Toshihiro Konno, Hideki Tatemoto and Ken-ichi Yamanaka

We have previously reported that regulation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress during in vitro culture acutely increases bovine embryo developmental rate and cryotolerance; these data indicate that ER stress is a critical factor reducing the quality of in vitro-produced embryos. In the current follow-up study, we examined whether ER stress attenuation during in vitro maturation influences meiotic maturation, oocyte quality, and subsequent embryonic development. Bovine cumulus oocyte complexes (COCs) derived from slaughterhouse ovaries were matured with or without tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA), a selective inhibitor of ER stress (0, 50, 100, and 200 µM) for 22 h followed by in vitro fertilization, and zygotes were cultured for 8 days. Of the different doses of TUDCA, 100 μM TUDCA significantly increased the maturation rate, and decreased reactive oxygen species in denuded oocytes, and appeared lower number of apoptotic cells in matured COCs. Subsequently, treatment of TUDCA (100 µM) decreased the localization and amount of GRP78/BIP protein level as well as ER stress (GRP78/BIP, PERK, IER1, ATF4, and XBP1) and apoptosis (CHOP and BAX)-related gene expression, while it increased the anti-apoptotic gene BCL2 level in matured COCs. Moreover, addition of TUDCA (100 µM) during IVM significantly improved the blastocyst formation rate (43.6 ± 1.8% vs 49.7 ± 1.3%) and decreased the number of apoptotic cells (7.7 ± 1.1% vs 5.03 ± 0.6%) in blastocysts. These findings suggest that the presence of ER stress during maturation impairs the developmental competence of bovine COCs and that this process can be reversed by TUDCA.