Biology of reproduction

Peroxisome proliferator activator receptor gamma (PPARG) regulates conceptus elongation in sheep.

PMID 25519185


The ovine blastocyst hatches from the zona pellucida by Day 8 and develops into an ovoid or tubular conceptus (embryo and associated extraembryonic membranes) that grows and elongates into a filamentous form between Days 12 and 16. The trophectoderm of the elongating conceptus synthesizes and secretes interferon tau (IFNT) as well as prostaglandins (PGs) via prostaglandin synthase two (PTGS2). Intrauterine infusion of a PTGS2 inhibitor prevents conceptus elongation in sheep. Although many PGs are secreted, PGI2 and PGJ2 can activate nuclear peroxisome proliferator activator receptors (PPARs) that heterodimerize with retinoic X receptors (RXRs) to regulate gene expression and cellular function. Expression of PPARD, PPARG, RXRA, RXRB, and RXRG is detected in the elongating ovine conceptus, and nuclear PPARD and PPARG are present in the trophectoderm. Consequently, PPARD and PPARG are hypothesized to have essential roles in conceptus elongation in ruminants. In utero loss-of-function studies of PPARD and PPARG in the ovine conceptus trophectoderm were conducted using morpholino antisense oligonucleotides (MAOs) that inhibit mRNA translation. Elongating, filamentous-type conceptuses were recovered from ewes infused with a control morpholino or PPARD MAO. In contrast, PPARG MAO resulted in severely growth-retarded conceptuses or conceptus fragments with apoptotic trophectoderm. In order to identify PPARG-regulated genes, PPARG chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing and RNA sequencing were conducted using Day 14 ovine conceptuses. These analyses revealed candidate PPARG-regulated genes involved in biological pathways, including lipid and glucose uptake, transport, and metabolism. Collectively, results support the hypothesis that PTGS2-derived PGs and PPARG are essential regulators of conceptus elongation, with specific roles in trophectoderm survival and proliferation.