[Frontiers in Bioscience E4, 1182-1194, January 1, 2012]

Temporal and spatial expression of AIF in the mouse uterus during early pregnancy

Li-Ying Zhang1, Yu-Ping Hua1, Tie-Zhu An1, Ru-Juan Zuo2, Wei-Tian Nie1, Lian-Bang Wang1, Chun-Hua Shan1

1 Northeast Forestry University, Haerbin, 150040, China, 2 College of Life Science, Xiamen University, Xiamen, 361005, China


1. Abstract
2. Introduction
3. Materials and methods
3.1. Animals and treatments
3.2. Real time PCR
3.3. Hybridization probes
3.4. In situ hybridization
3.5. Immunohistochemistry
4. Microscopic assessment and statistical analysis
5. Results
5.1. AIF expression in the mouse uterus during early pregnancy
5.2. AIF expression in the mouse uterus during pseudopregnancy
5.3. AIF expression in the mouse uterus under delayed implantation and activation
5.4. AIF expression in the mouse uterus under artificial decidualization
5.5. Effects of steroid hormones on AIF expression
6. Discussion
7. Acknowledgements
8. References


Apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) is a phylogenetically old, bifunctional protein with a pro-apoptotic function and redox activity. AIF regulates apoptosis and also plays a role in the defense against stress depending on its subcellular localization. Embryo implantation is a complicated process, in which an activated blastocyst interacts with a receptive uterus. The expression and regulation of AIF were investigated in this study in the mouse uterus during early pregnancy, pseudopregnancy, delayed implantation, artificial decidualization and under hormonal treatment using in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry and real-time PCR. During early pregnancy, temporally and spatially regulated patterns of AIF expression were found in the mouse uterus; AIF expression in the luminal epithelium and glandular epithelium is regulated by steroid hormones; AIF mRNA expression in the stroma is influenced by the active blastocyst; and AIF protein was found to be located in the cytoplasm rather than the nucleus through confocal microscope. Our data suggest that AIF might play an important role during mouse embryo implantation and that the role of AIF might be implemented through its physiological activity rather than through its pro-apoptotic function in the mouse uterus during this period.