Development (Cambridge, England)

Sirh7/Ldoc1 knockout mice exhibit placental P4 overproduction and delayed parturition.

PMID 25468940


Sirh7/Ldoc1 [sushi-ichi retrotransposon homolog 7/leucine zipper, downregulated in cancer 1, also called mammalian retrotransposon-derived 7 (Mart7)] is one of the newly acquired genes from LTR retrotransposons in eutherian mammals. Interestingly, Sirh7/Ldoc1 knockout (KO) mice exhibited abnormal placental cell differentiation/maturation, leading to an overproduction of placental progesterone (P4) and placental lactogen 1 (PL1) from trophoblast giant cells (TGCs). The placenta is an organ that is essential for mammalian viviparity and plays a major endocrinological role during pregnancy in addition to providing nutrients and oxygen to the fetus. P4 is an essential hormone in the preparation and maintenance of pregnancy and the determination of the timing of parturition in mammals; however, the biological significance of placental P4 in rodents is not properly recognized. Here, we demonstrate that mouse placentas do produce P4 in mid-gestation, coincident with a temporal reduction in ovarian P4, suggesting that it plays a role in the protection of the conceptuses specifically in this period. Pregnant Sirh7/Ldoc1 knockout females also displayed delayed parturition associated with a low pup weaning rate. All these results suggest that Sirh7/Ldoc1 has undergone positive selection during eutherian evolution as a eutherian-specific acquired gene because it impacts reproductive fitness via the regulation of placental endocrine function.

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