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Reproduction. 2006 Feb;131(2):341-9.

Evidence for heterodimeric association of leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) receptor and gp130 in the mouse uterus for LIF signaling during blastocyst implantation.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Immunology, Obstetrics and Gynecology.


Implantation failure in mice lacking leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) establishes that this cytokine is crucial to this process. LIF transcripts are expressed in the uterus in a biphasic manner: LIF is expressed in the gland on the morning of day 4 and again in stromal cells surrounding the blastocyst with the onset of implantation in the evening of day 4 of pregnancy. However, it is not yet clear whether both phases of LIF expression are required for implantation, since the receptor usage by uterine LIF still remains elusive. Here we have provided evidence that major cell types expressing theLIF receptor (LIFR) and its signal transducing partner gp130 are mostly disparate in the mouse uterus during the glandular LIF expression in the morning of day 4. In contrast, LIFR and gp130 expressions overlap in the luminal epithelium at the time of blastocyst attachment on the evening of day 4 when the second phase of LIF expression occurs in stromal cells surrounding the blastocyst, suggesting that LIF participates in implantation in a paracrine manner. Similar expression patterns for LIFR and gp130 were observed when a delayed implantation model was used. For example, a transient overlapping expression of LIFR and gp130 was evident at 12 h after estrogen-induced termination of delayed implantation. Coimmunoprecipitation experiments showed that LIFR and gp130 form heterodimers and are available for LIF signaling at the time of blastocyst attachment. We have also shown that an intra-peritoneal administration of recombinant LIF in LIF-deficient pregnant mice on the evening of day 4, close to the time when the second phase of LIF expression is normally observed, is sufficient to rescue implantation failure, and that there is no evidence of antagonistic action by soluble forms of the receptors. Collectively, our results have provided evidence that LIFR and gp130 form a functional heterodimer in the uterus during the attachment reaction to direct LIF signaling.

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