Biomolecules in Maternal–Embryo Communication in Implantation

A special issue of Biomolecules (ISSN 2218-273X). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2020) | Viewed by 17840

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine, Department of Pathophysiology, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia
Interests: maternal communication with gametes and embryo; omics; extracellular vesicles; innate immunity and tolerance

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Guest Editor
Academic Unit of Reproductive and Developmental Medicine, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2SF, UK
Interests: maternal communication with gametes and embryos; sperm function; cryobiology; conservation biology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia
Interests: reproductive genomics and genetics; assisted reproduction; endometrial receptivity and etiology of female infertility

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The planned Special Issue in ‘Biomolecules’ will be dedicated to maternal–embryo communication in pregnancy. As is widely recognized, interactions of embryos with their maternal environment are crucial in achieving reproductive success in all mammalian species, including humans. Long-range and short-range signaling biomolecules play important roles in mediating cell–cell maternal communications with embryos. Slight malfunctions or disturbances of the environment that host these interactions can retard embryonic development and may result in infertility, pregnancy loss or pregnancy complications. Despite an overwhelming amount of research and the literature available, not all signaling biomolecules and mechanisms involved and their relationship with each other are known at early stages of mammalian conception. The Special Issue of the journal Biomolecules assembles review and research papers focusing on different approaches aiming to improve our understanding of biomolecules involved in mammalian embryo development prior to implantation, endometrial receptivity required for implantation, and the various molecular maternal–embryo interactions occurring in early stages of pregnancy. This fundamental and translational novel knowledge allows us to better understand human/mammalian reproductive biology processes and to better deal with reproductive medicine and biotechnology challenges.

Prof. Alireza Fazeli
Prof. Bill Holt
Prof. Andres Salumets
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • maternal–embryo communication
  • preimplantation embryo
  • endometrial receptivity
  • embryo implantation

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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28 pages, 5135 KiB  
Article
Determining the Molecular Background of Endometrial Receptivity in Adenomyosis
by Erika Prašnikar, Tanja Kunej, Katja Repnik, Uroš Potočnik, Jure Knez and Borut Kovačič
Biomolecules 2020, 10(9), 1311; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10091311 - 11 Sep 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 6806
Abstract
Background: Adenomyosis is a gynaecological condition with limited evidence of negative impact to endometrial receptivity. It is commonly associated with endometriosis, which has been shown to alter endometrial expression patterns. Therefore, the candidate genes identified in endometriosis could serve as a source to [...] Read more.
Background: Adenomyosis is a gynaecological condition with limited evidence of negative impact to endometrial receptivity. It is commonly associated with endometriosis, which has been shown to alter endometrial expression patterns. Therefore, the candidate genes identified in endometriosis could serve as a source to study endometrial function in adenomyosis. Methods: Transcripts/proteins associated with endometrial receptivity in women with adenomyosis or endometriosis and healthy women were obtained from publications and their nomenclature was adopted according to the HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC). Retrieved genes were analysed for enriched pathways using Cytoscape/Search Tool for the Retrieval of Interacting Genes/Proteins (STRING) and Reactome tools to prioritise candidates for endometrial receptivity. These were used for validation on women with (n = 9) and without (n = 13) adenomyosis. Results: Functional enrichment analysis of 173, 42 and 151 genes associated with endometriosis, adenomyosis and healthy women, respectively, revealed signalling by interleukins and interleukin-4 and interleukin-13 signalling pathways, from which annotated LIF, JUNB, IL6, FOS, IL10 and SOCS3 were prioritised. Selected genes showed downregulated expression levels in adenomyosis compared to the control group, but without statistical significance. Conclusion: This is the first integrative study providing putative candidate genes and pathways characterising endometrial receptivity in women with adenomyosis in comparison to healthy women and women with endometriosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomolecules in Maternal–Embryo Communication in Implantation)
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16 pages, 2348 KiB  
Article
Pig Pregnancies after Transfer of Allogeneic Embryos Show a Dysregulated Endometrial/Placental Cytokine Balance: A Novel Clue for Embryo Death?
by Cristina A. Martinez, Marie Rubér, Heriberto Rodriguez-Martinez and Manuel Alvarez-Rodriguez
Biomolecules 2020, 10(4), 554; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10040554 - 5 Apr 2020
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 3009
Abstract
Pig embryo transfer (ET) is burdened by high embryo mortality, with cytokines playing a significant role in recruitment of immune cells during embryo attachment and placentation. We hereby tested if their levels in endometrium and placenta from sows carrying hemi-allogeneic (artificially inseminated sows; [...] Read more.
Pig embryo transfer (ET) is burdened by high embryo mortality, with cytokines playing a significant role in recruitment of immune cells during embryo attachment and placentation. We hereby tested if their levels in endometrium and placenta from sows carrying hemi-allogeneic (artificially inseminated sows; C+ positive control) or allogeneic embryos (sows subjected to ET; ET) during peri-implantation (D18) or post-implantation (D24) are suitable mirrors of embryo rejection or tolerance after ET. Non-pregnant sows (C−) were used as negative controls. A set of cytokines was assayed in the tissues through multiplexed microsphere-based flow cytometry (Luminex xMAP, Millipore. USA). Fewer (58.7%. p < 0.003) conceptuses were recovered at D24 after ET compared to C+ (80.9%); with more than 20% of the ET conceptuses being developmentally delayed. Cytokine levels shifted during implantation. Anti-inflammatory IL-10 levels were significantly (p < 0.05) lower in ET sows compared to C+ at D24 of pregnancy. The C+ controls (carrying hemi-allogeneic embryos) consistently showed higher levels of pro-inflammatory TNF-α, IFN-γ, and IL-2 cytokines at D18 and IL-1α at D24, compared to the ET group. This clear dysregulation of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine levels in sows subjected to ET could be associated with an impaired maternal immune tolerance, explaining the high embryonic mortality of ET programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomolecules in Maternal–Embryo Communication in Implantation)
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Review

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25 pages, 1146 KiB  
Review
A Comparative View on the Oviductal Environment during the Periconception Period
by Leopoldo González-Brusi, Blanca Algarra, Carla Moros-Nicolás, Mª José Izquierdo-Rico, Manuel Avilés and Maria Jiménez-Movilla
Biomolecules 2020, 10(12), 1690; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10121690 - 17 Dec 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3353
Abstract
The oviduct plays important roles in reproductive events: sperm reservoir formation, final gamete maturation, fertilization and early embryo development. It is well known that the oviductal environment affects gametes and embryos and, ultimately, the health of offspring, so that in vivo embryos are [...] Read more.
The oviduct plays important roles in reproductive events: sperm reservoir formation, final gamete maturation, fertilization and early embryo development. It is well known that the oviductal environment affects gametes and embryos and, ultimately, the health of offspring, so that in vivo embryos are better in terms of morphology, cryotolerance, pregnancy rates or epigenetic profile than those obtained in vitro. The deciphering of embryo–maternal interaction in the oviduct may provide a better understanding of the embryo needs during the periconception period to improve reproductive efficiency. Here, we perform a comparative analysis among species of oviductal gene expression related to embryonic development during its journey through the oviduct, as described to date. Cross-talk communication between the oviduct environment and embryo will be studied by analyses of the secreted or exosomal proteins of the oviduct and the presence of receptors in the membrane of the embryo blastomeres. Finally, we review the data that are available to date on the expression and characterization of the most abundant protein in the oviduct, oviductin (OVGP1), highlighting its fundamental role in fertilization and embryonic development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomolecules in Maternal–Embryo Communication in Implantation)
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26 pages, 1581 KiB  
Review
The Biological Function of Extracellular Vesicles during Fertilization, Early Embryo—Maternal Crosstalk and Their Involvement in Reproduction: Review and Overview
by Emanuele Capra and Anna Lange-Consiglio
Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1510; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111510 - 4 Nov 2020
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 4012
Abstract
Secretory extracellular vesicles (EVs) are membrane-enclosed microparticles that mediate cell to cell communication in proximity to, or distant from, the cell of origin. Cells release a heterogeneous spectrum of EVs depending on their physiologic and metabolic state. Extracellular vesicles are generally classified as [...] Read more.
Secretory extracellular vesicles (EVs) are membrane-enclosed microparticles that mediate cell to cell communication in proximity to, or distant from, the cell of origin. Cells release a heterogeneous spectrum of EVs depending on their physiologic and metabolic state. Extracellular vesicles are generally classified as either exosomes or microvesicles depending on their size and biogenesis. Extracellular vesicles mediate temporal and spatial interaction during many events in sexual reproduction and supporting embryo-maternal dialogue. Although many omic technologies provide detailed understanding of the molecular cargo of EVs, the difficulty in obtaining populations of homogeneous EVs makes difficult to interpret the molecular profile of the molecules derived from a miscellaneous EV population. Notwithstanding, molecular characterization of EVs isolated in physiological and pathological conditions may increase our understanding of reproductive and obstetric diseases and assist the search for potential non-invasive biomarkers. Moreover, a more precise vision of the cocktail of biomolecules inside the EVs mediating communication between the embryo and mother could provide new insights to optimize the therapeutic action and safety of EV use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomolecules in Maternal–Embryo Communication in Implantation)
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