Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Hum Reprod. 2014 Mar;20(3):235-49. doi: 10.1093/molehr/gat084. Epub 2013 Nov 15.

A disintegrin and metalloproteinase 12 (ADAM12) localizes to invasive trophoblast, promotes cell invasion and directs column outgrowth in early placental development.

Author information

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


During pregnancy, stromal- and vascular-remodeling trophoblasts serve critical roles in directing placental development acquiring pro-invasive characteristics. The A Disintegrin and Metalloproteinase (ADAM) family of multifunctional proteins direct cellular processes across multiple organ systems via their intrinsic catalytic, cell adhesive and intracellular signaling properties. ADAM12, existing as two distinct splice variants (ADAM12L and ADAM12S), is highly expressed in the human placenta and promotes cell migration and invasion in several tumor cell lines; however, its role in trophoblast biology is unknown. In this study, ADAM12 was localized to anchoring trophoblast columns in first trimester placentas and to highly invasive extracellular matrix-degrading trophoblasts in placental villous explants. The importance of ADAM12 in directing trophoblast invasion was tested using loss-of and gain-of-function strategies, where siRNA-directed knockdown of ADAM12 inhibited trophoblast cell invasion while over-expression promoted migration and invasion in two trophoblastic cell models. In placental villous explant cultures, siRNA-directed loss of ADAM12 significantly dampened trophoblast column outgrowth. Additionally, we provide functional evidence for the ADAM12S variant in promoting trophoblast invasion and column outgrowth through a mechanism requiring its catalytic activity. This is the first study to assign a function for ADAM12 in trophoblast biology, where ADAM12 may play a central role regulating the behavior of invasive trophoblast subsets in early pregnancy. This study also underlines the importance of ADAM12L and ADAM12S in directing cell motility in normal developmental processes outside of cancer, specifically highlighting a potentially important function of ADAM12S in directing early placental development.


A Disintegrin and Metalloproteinase 12; cell invasion; placenta; protease; trophoblast

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center