Analytical biochemistry

Development of a high-throughput assay for human proprotein convertase 5/6 for detecting uterine receptivity.

PMID 25554488


Embryo implantation requires a healthy embryo and a receptive uterus. In women, the inner lining of the uterus, the endometrium, remains in a hostile state and becomes receptive for embryo implantation for only a short period during each menstrual cycle. Determining endometrial receptivity is vital in in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment because the timing of embryo transfer needs to be synchronized with endometrial receptivity. We have previously demonstrated that proprotein convertase 5/6A (PC6) is highly expressed in the receptive endometrium and that PC6 is critical for receptivity establishment in women. Furthermore, endometrial PC6 is secreted into the uterine fluid, and levels correlate with receptivity status. Detection of PC6 in uterine fluids, therefore, would provide a nonsurgical assessment of endometrial receptivity. However, to date no assays are available for human PC6. In this study, we produced three PC6 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and developed a sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for PC6 detection in human uterine fluids. The PC6 mAbs were confirmed to be highly specific to PC6, and the ELISA detected PC6 in human uterine fluids with a significantly higher level during the receptive phase. This newly established PC6 ELISA provides an important tool in the development of noninvasive strategies to detect endometrial receptivity in women.