New Lambton, Australia
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Pan X.,Chongqing Medical University | Bowman M.,Mothers and Babies Research Center | Scott R.J.,University of Newcastle | Fitter J.,Mothers and Babies Research Center | And 7 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2017

Placental CRH production increases with advancing pregnancy in women and its course predicts gestational length. We hypothesized that CRH gene expression in the placenta is epigenetically controlled setting gestational trajectories characteristic of normal and pathological pregnancies. Here we determined histone modification and DNA methylation levels and DNA methylation patterns at the CRH promoter in primary trophoblast cultures by chromatin immunoprecipitation combined with clonal bisulfite sequencing and identified the transcriptionally active epialleles that associate with particular histone modifications and transcription factors during syncytialisation and cAMP-stimulation. CRH gene expression increased during syncytial differentiation and cAMP stimulation, which was associated with increased activating and decreased repressive histone modification levels at the promoter. DNA methylation levels remained unchanged. The nine CpGs of the CRH proximal promoter were partially and allele-independently methylated displaying many (>100) epialleles. RNA-polymerase-II (Pol-II) bound only to three particular epialleles in cAMP-stimulated cells, while phospho-cAMP response element-binding protein (pCREB) bound to only one epiallele, which was different from those selected by Pol-II. Binding of TATA-binding protein increased during syncytial differentiation preferentially at epialleles compatible with Pol-II and pCREB binding. Histone-3 acetylation was detected only at epialleles targeted by Pol-II and pCREB, while gene activating histone-4 acetylation and histone-3-lysine-4 trimethylation occurred at CRH epialleles not associated with Pol-II or pCREB. The suppressive histone-3-lysine-27 trimethyl and±lysine-9 trimethyl modifications showed little or no epiallele preference. The epiallele selectivity of activating histone modifications and transcription factor binding demonstrates the epigenetic and functional diversity of the CRH gene in trophoblasts, which is controlled predominantly by the patterns, not the overall extent, of promoter methylation. We propose that conditions impacting on epiallele distribution influence the number of transcriptionally active CRH gene copies in the trophoblast cell population determining the gestational trajectory of placental CRH production in normal and pathological pregnancies. © 2017 Pan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Welsh T.N.,John Hunter Hospital | Welsh T.N.,University of Newcastle | Welsh T.N.,Mothers and Babies Research Center | Hirst J.J.,University of Newcastle | And 9 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Progesterone withdrawal is essential for parturition, but the mechanism of this pivotal hormonal change is unclear in women and other mammals that give birth without a pre-labor drop in maternal progesterone levels. One possibility suggested by uterine tissue analyses and cell culture models is that progesterone receptor levels change at term decreasing the progesterone responsiveness of the myometrium, which causes progesterone withdrawal at the functional level and results in estrogen dominance enhancing uterine contractility. In this investigation we have explored whether receptor mediated functional progesterone withdrawal occurs during late pregnancy and labor in vivo. We have also determined whether prostaglandins that induce labor cause functional progesterone withdrawal by altering myometrial progesterone receptor expression. Pregnant guinea pigs were used, since this animal loses progesterone responsiveness at term and gives birth in the presence of high maternal progesterone level similarly to primates. We found that progesterone receptor mRNA and protein A and B expression decreased in the guinea pig uterus during the last third of gestation and in labor. Prostaglandin administration reduced while prostaglandin synthesis inhibitor treatment increased progesterone receptor A protein abundance. Estrogen receptor-1 protein levels remained unchanged during late gestation, in labor and after prostaglandin or prostaglandin synthesis inhibitor administration. Steroid receptor levels were higher in the non-pregnant than in the pregnant uterine horns. We conclude that the decreasing expression of both progesterone receptors A and B is a physiological mechanism of functional progesterone withdrawal in the guinea pig during late pregnancy and in labor. Further, prostaglandins administered exogenously or produced endogenously stimulate labor in part by suppressing uterine progesterone receptor A expression, which may cause functional progesterone withdrawal, promote estrogen dominance and foster myometrial contractions. © 2014 Welsh et al.

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