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Placenta. 2003 Feb-Mar;24(2-3):155-63.

Regulation of trophoblastic gelatinases by proto-oncogenes.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Geneva, Box 232 Addenbrooke's Hospital, Maternité, Switzerland.


During the first trimester of pregnancy, certain cytotrophoblastic cells (CTB) of anchoring villi invade the underlying decidua. Regulation of this invasive behaviour depends on cytokines and growth factors secreted by decidua and trophoblast, which modulate metalloproteinase (MMP) secretion of CTB. Since MMP-9 expression by CTB is a prerequisite for matrigel invasion and since the promoter region of the MMP-9 gene contains two AP-1 binding sites, we hypothesized, that transient activation of c-jun and c-fos oncogenes (which bind to form AP-1) by tumour necrosis factor (TNFalpha), or the phorbol ester TPA will promote the invasive phenotype of CTB and induce the production of MMP-9.TNFalpha or TPA when added to primary cultures of CTB increase MMP-9 activity and MMP-9 mRNA. This effect is inhibited by cycloheximide indicating the necessity of protein synthesis. TPA or TNFalpha induces also the binding of nuclear proteins (extracted from treated CTB) to a radiolabelled oligonucleotide corresponding to the consensus sequence of the TPA responsive element. Antibodies to Jun and Fos can displace this binding. Transient transfection of antisense mRNA to jun or fos into CTB inhibits the immunoreactivity and gelatinolytic activity of MMP-9. We conclude that AP-1 is necessary but may not be sufficient for transactivation of the MMP-9 gene in human CTB.

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