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Biol Reprod. 2010 Dec;83(6):1036-45. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.109.083246. Epub 2010 Aug 25.

HER1 signaling mediates extravillous trophoblast differentiation in humans.

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Women's and Infants' Health Research Centre, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.


This study examines the role of HER1 signaling in the differentiation of proliferative extravillous trophoblast (EVT) into invasive EVT. Using the JAR choriocarcinoma cell line and placental villous explants as experimental models and immunohistochemical assessment of protein markers of EVT differentiation (downregulation of HER1 and Cx40 and upregulation of HER2 and alpha1 integrin), we show that the ability of decidual conditioned medium (DCM) to induce HER1/2 switching was abrogated in the presence of the HER1 antagonist, AG1478. Similarly, epidermal growth factor (EGF) treatment resulted in the downregulation of HER1 and an upregulation of HER2 expression, whereas co-incubation of EGF with AG1478 inhibited this response. However, EGF did not downregulate Cx40 or induce migration of EVT. In contrast, heparin-binding epidermal-like growth factor (HBEGF) stimulated dose-dependent JAR cell migration, which was inhibited by both AG1478 and AG825 (HER2 antagonist). Western blot analysis of HER1 activation demonstrated that HBEGF-mediated phosphorylation of the HER1 Tyr992 and Tyr1068 sites, while EGF activated the Tyr1045 site. Moreover, HBEGF induced a stronger and more sustained activation of both the mitogen-activated protein kinase and phosphoinositol 3 kinase (PIK3) signaling pathways. Migration assays using a panel of signaling pathway inhibitors demonstrated that the HBEGF-mediated migration was dependent on the PIK3 pathway. These results demonstrate that HBEGF-mediated HER1 signaling through PIK3 is an important component of EVT invasion.

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