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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Proteolysis of insulin-like growth factor-binding proteins (IGFBPs) within the pig uterine lumen associated with peri-implantation conceptus development.

Pig conceptuses undergo morphological development from spherical to filamentous forms during days 10 to 12 of pregnancy, coincident with a high content of mRNAs encoding insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I in the uterine endometrium and secretion of IGF-I into the uterine lumen. The potential regulation by developing conceptuses of the bioavailability of IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs) within the uterine microenvironment was investigated. Uterine luminal flushings (ULFs) were obtained between days 10 and 18 of pregnancy and the presence of specific IGFBPs was detected by ligand blot analysis. ULFs collected at days 10 and 11 of pregnancy contained 46 and 43 kDa IGFBP-3, several IGFBPs of about 30 kDa including IGFBP-2, and an unidentified 26 kDa IGFBP; IGFBP-3 was the most abundant. By day 12, however, IGFBPs were substantially diminished or undetectable. Examination of the morphology of flushed conceptuses revealed that the loss of IGFBPs in ULF was associated with the transition from spherical to filamentous morphology. The abundance of IGFBP-3 mRNA in uterine endometrium, as monitored by blot-hybridization, was not altered in a similar way, suggesting that lack of IGFBP-3 in 'filamentous' ULF resulted from proteolysis rather than from decreased expression of the IGFBP-3 gene. Consistent with this, incubation of 'spherical' ULF with or without added 'filamentous' ULF at 37 degrees C resulted in the disappearance of endogenous IGFBP-3 only in 'spherical + filamentous' ULF. The protease activity in 'filamentous' ULF was inhibited by EDTA, but unlike matrix metalloproteinases, was not zinc ion-dependent or inhibited by 1,10-phenanthroline. Moreover, this activity was partially inhibited by the serine protease inhibitor aprotinin, but not by 4-(2-aminoethyl)-benzenesulfonyl fluoride (AEBSF), a known inhibitor of plasmin. The IGFBP protease activity of ULF may therefore comprise a group of enzymes including an unidentified serine protease. The results suggest that elongating pig conceptuses induce IGFBP protease activity which may increase the intrauterine bioavailability of IGF.[1]


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