Interferon tau (IFNT), the pregnancy recognition signal in ruminants, abrogates the uterine luteolytic mechanism to ensure maintenance of function for the corpora lutea to produce progesterone (P4). IFNT also suppresses expression of classical IFN-stimulated genes by uterine lumenal epithelium (LE) and superficial glandular (sGE) epithelium but, acting in concert with progesterone, affects expression of a multitude of genes critical to growth and development of the conceptus. The LE and sGE secrete proteins and transport nutrients into the uterine lumen necessary for conceptus development, pregnancy recognition signaling, and implantation. Secretions include arginine and secreted phosphoprotein 1 (SPP1). Arginine can be metabolized to nitric oxide and to polyamines or act directly to activate the mechanistic target of rapamycin cell signaling pathway to stimulate proliferation, migration, and mRNA translation in trophectoderm cells. SPP1 binds alphavbeta3 and alpha5beta1 integrins to induce focal adhesion assembly, adhesion, and migration of conceptus trophectoderm cells during implantation. Thus, arginine and SPP1 mediate growth, migration, cytoskeletal remodeling, and adhesion of trophectoderm essential for pregnancy recognition signaling and implantation. This minireview focuses on components of histotroph that affect conceptus development in the ewe.
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