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Mol Endocrinol. 2013 Dec;27(12):2041-54. doi: 10.1210/me.2013-1191. Epub 2013 Oct 31.

COUP-TFII regulates human endometrial stromal genes involved in inflammation.

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Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030.


Chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor II (COUP-TFII; NR2F2) is an orphan nuclear receptor involved in cell-fate specification, organogenesis, angiogenesis, and metabolism. Ablation of COUP-TFII in the mouse uterus causes infertility due to defects in embryo attachment and impaired uterine stromal cell decidualization. Although the function of COUP-TFII in uterine decidualization has been described in mice, its role in the human uterus remains unknown. We observed that, as in mice, COUP-TFII is robustly expressed in the endometrial stroma of healthy women, and its expression is reduced in the ectopic lesions of women with endometriosis. To interrogate the role of COUP-TFII in human endometrial function, we used a small interfering RNA-mediated loss of function approach in primary human endometrial stromal cells. Attenuation of COUP-TFII expression did not completely block decidualization; rather it had a selective effect on gene expression. To better elucidate the role of COUP-TFII in endometrial stroma cell biology, the COUP-TFII transcriptome was defined by pairing microarray comparison with chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by deep sequencing. Gene ontology analysis demonstrates that COUP-TFII regulates a subset of genes in endometrial stroma cell decidualization such as those involved in cell adhesion, angiogenesis, and inflammation. Importantly this analysis shows that COUP-TFII plays a role in controlling the expression of inflammatory cytokines. The determination that COUP-TFII plays a role in inflammation may add insight into the role of COUP-TFII in embryo implantation and in endometrial diseases such as endometriosis.

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