Domestic animal endocrinology

A transcriptional cofactor YAP regulates IFNT expression via transcription factor TEAD in bovine conceptuses.

PMID 27315596


Interferon tau (IFNT) is the pregnancy recognition protein in all ruminants, and its expression is restricted to trophoblast cells. Interferon tau production increases as the conceptus elongates; however, its expression is downregulated soon after the initiation of conceptus attachment to the uterine epithelium. Our previous study identified that among 8 bovine IFNT genes, only 2 forms of IFNTs, IFNT2 and IFN-tau-c1, were expressed by the conceptuses during the periattachment period. To characterize whether Hippo signaling including a transcription cofactor yes-associated protein (YAP) was involved in the IFNT regulation, we examined the expression and effects of YAP and/or TEAD in human choriocarcinoma JEG3 and bovine trophoblast CT-1 cells, and in bovine conceptuses obtained from day 17, 20 or 22 pregnant animals (pregnant day 19.5 = day of conceptus attachment to the endometrium). YAP was expressed in bovine conceptuses and transfection of YAP or TEAD4, a transcription factor partner of YAP, expression plasmid increased the luciferase activity of IFNT2 and IFN-tau-c1 reporter plasmids in JEG3 cells. In the presence of YAP expression plasmid, TEAD2 or TEAD4 expression plasmid further upregulated transcriptional activity of IFNT2 or IFN-tau-c1 constructs, which were substantially reduced in the absence of the TEAD-binding site on IFNT2 or IFN-tau-c1 promoter region in JEG3 cells. In CT-1 cells, treatment with TEAD2, TEAD4, or YAP small-interfering RNA downregulated endogenous IFNT expression. It should be noted that TEAD2 and TEAD4 were predominantly localized in the nuclei of trophectoderm of Day 17 conceptuses, but nuclear localization appeared to be lower in those cells of conceptuses on days 20 and 22 of pregnancy. Moreover, the binding of TEAD4 to the TEAD-binding site of the IFN-tau-c1 promoter region in day 17 conceptuses was less in day 20 and 22 conceptuses. Furthermore, the level of YAP phosphorylation increased in day 20 and 22 conceptuses. These results indicated that although YAP/TEAD had the ability to up-regulate IFNT gene transcription on day 17, IFNT2 or IFN-tau-c1 was down-regulated following changes in the localization of TEAD2 and TEAD4 from the nucleus to the cytoplasm and increases in phosphorylation and degradation of YAP. These data suggest that TEAD relocation and/or YAP degradation following its phosphorylation down-regulates IFNT gene transcription after conceptus attachment to the uterine endometrium.