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Development. 2008 Feb;135(4):717-27. doi: 10.1242/dev.015339. Epub 2008 Jan 16.

Inactivation of nuclear Wnt-beta-catenin signaling limits blastocyst competency for implantation.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.


The activation of the blastocyst, a process by which it gains competency to attach with the receptive uterus, is a prerequisite for successful implantation. However, the molecular basis of blastocyst activation remains largely unexplored. Combining molecular, pharmacological and physiological approaches, we show here that silencing of Wnt-beta-catenin signaling in mice does not adversely affect the development of preimplantation embryos to blastocysts and uterine preparation for receptivity, but, remarkably, blocks blastocyst competency to implantation. Using the physiologically relevant delayed implantation model and trophoblast stem cells in culture, we further demonstrate that a coordinated activation of canonical Wnt-beta-catenin signaling with attenuation of the non-canonical Wnt-RhoA signaling pathway ensures blastocyst competency to implantation. These findings constitute novel evidence that Wnt signaling is at least one pathway that determines blastocyst competency for implantation.

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