Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Absence of critical protein linked to infertility

18.01.2006


The absence of a key protein may lead to infertility.



Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign report that experiments involving mice -- to be detailed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences -- indicate that the transcription factor protein C/EBPb must be present in the uterus for pregnancy to occur. The study appears online this week at the PNAS Web site.

Without it, they say, an embryo cannot survive in uterine tissue or attach to a mother’s blood supply. Other genes also play roles, but C/EBPb is critical for implantation of an embryo, said Milan K. Bagchi, a professor of molecular and integrative physiology.


C/EBPb is scientifically known as CCAAT/Enhancer Binding Protein beta. It is regulated by the hormones estrogen and progesterone. In normal conditions, the protein, driven mostly by progesterone, is expressed rapidly and in large quantities during the critical four-day implantation period in mice, Bagchi said.

During this period, an embryo attaches to the wall of the uterus, advances into it and eventually attaches to the blood supply and forms the placenta. For a successful pregnancy to occur, stromal cells of the uterus must be transformed into decidual cells, which secrete nutrients that allow the embryo to survive until it plugs into the blood supply. C/EBPb is necessary for decidualization, the researchers discovered.

"This protein in the mouse is also in humans," Bagchi said. "We believe it plays a critical role in human pregnancy. It is expressed in the human endometrium at a time that coincides with the time of implantation. We have demonstrated very clearly in the mouse that in the absence of C/EBPb there is no decidualization. We transferred viable mouse embryos from healthy mice into mice lacking the gene, and pregnancy failed."

The project began more than four years ago. First, researchers used DNA microarrays to identify gene expression under normal and abnormal conditions during implantation. After messenger RNA profiling zeroed in on C/EBPb’s activity, the researchers collaborated with Peter F. Johnson of the National Cancer Institute’s Laboratory of Protein Dynamics and Signaling, who created mice that lacked the protein.

The experimental mice were then used to observe the relationships of the hormones and their receptors with the protein under varying conditions during the critical implantation period. In doing so, researchers determined that C/EBPb is a critical mediator of steroid hormone responsiveness in the uterus.

"This gene is expressed when the uterus is ready for embryo attachment," said co-author Indrani C. Bagchi, a professor of veterinary biosciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Illinois. "Its presence indicates a window for success."

If the findings are replicated in human tissue, as expected, she said, the protein’s presence could become a vital gene marker for predicting uterine readiness for pregnancy.

"The success rate for the practice of in vitro fertilization currently is, on average, about 25 percent," she said. "The major problem is that the conditions occurring when the embryo is transferred often are not the best in the uterus. It’s not known if the uterus is ready to accept an embryo, so often multiple embryos are transferred in hopes that one will attach. In future studies, confirmation of C/EBPb as a marker that correctly indicates uterine readiness for implantation in the human is likely to alleviate these shortcomings."

Other co-authors of the paper were doctoral student Srinivasa Raju Mantena, postdoctoral researchers Athilakshmi Kannan and Yong-Pil Cheon, and research scientist Quanxi Li, all in Indrani Bagchi’s veterinary biosciences laboratory.

Jim Barlow | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uiuc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht 'Lipid asymmetry' plays key role in activating immune cells
20.02.2018 | Biophysical Society

nachricht New printing technique uses cells and molecules to recreate biological structures
20.02.2018 | Queen Mary University of London

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

'Lipid asymmetry' plays key role in activating immune cells

20.02.2018 | Life Sciences

MRI technique differentiates benign breast lesions from malignancies

20.02.2018 | Medical Engineering

Major discovery in controlling quantum states of single atoms

20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>