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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2002 Feb;80(2):110-5.

Trophectoderm development and function: the roles of Na+/K(+)-ATPase subunit isoforms.

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Department of Physiology, The University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.


Preimplantation development is a period of cell division, cell shape change, and cell differentiation leading to the formation of an epithelium, the trophectoderm. The trophectoderm is the part of the conceptus that initiates uterine contact and, after transformation to become the trophoblast, uterine invasion. Thus, trophectoderm development during preimplantation stages is a necessary antecedent to the events of implantation. The preimplantation trophectoderm is a transporting epithelium with distinct apical and basolateral membrane domains that facilitate transepithelial Na+ and fluid transport for blastocoel formation. That transport is driven by Na+/K(+)-ATPase localized in basolateral membranes of the trophectoderm. Preimplantation embryos express multiple alpha and beta subunit isoforms of Na+/K(+)-ATPase, potentially constituting multiple isozymes, but the basolaterally located alpha1beta1, isozyme uniquely functions to drive fluid transport. They also express the gamma subunit, which is a modulator of Na+/K(+)-ATPase activity. In the mouse, two splice variants of the gamma subunit, gammaa and gammab, are expressed in the trophectoderm. Antisense knockdown of gamma subunit accumulation caused a delay of cavitation, implying an important role in trophectoderm function. The preimplantation trophectoderm offers a unique model for understanding the roles of Na+/K(+)-ATPase subunit isoforms in transepithelial transport.

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