Fine-tuned adaptation of embryo–endometrium pairs at implantation revealed by transcriptome analyses in <i>Bos taurus</i>

by Fernando H. Biase, Isabelle Hue, Sarah E. Dickinson, Florence Jaffrezic, Denis Laloe, Harris A. Lewin, Olivier Sandra

Interactions between embryo and endometrium at implantation are critical for the progression of pregnancy. These reciprocal actions involve exchange of paracrine signals that govern implantation and placentation. However, it remains unknown how these interactions between the conceptus and the endometrium are coordinated at the level of an individual pregnancy. Under the hypothesis that gene expression in endometrium is dependent on gene expression of extraembryonic tissues and genes expressed in extraembryonic tissues are dependent of genes expressed in the endometrium, we performed an integrative analysis of transcriptome profiles of paired extraembryonic tissue and endometria obtained from cattle (Bos taurus) pregnancies initiated by artificial insemination. We quantified strong dependence (|r| > 0.95, empirical false discovery rate [eFDR] < 0.01) in transcript abundance of genes expressed in the extraembryonic tissues and genes expressed in the endometrium. The profiles of connectivity revealed distinct coexpression patterns of extraembryonic tissues with caruncular and intercaruncular areas of the endometrium. Notably, a subset of highly coexpressed genes between extraembryonic tissue (n = 229) and caruncular areas of the endometrium (n = 218, r > 0.9999, eFDR < 0.001) revealed a blueprint of gene expression specific to each pregnancy. Gene ontology analyses of genes coexpressed between extraembryonic tissue and endometrium revealed significantly enriched modules with critical contribution for implantation and placentation, including “in utero embryonic development,” “placenta development,” and “regulation of transcription.” Coexpressing modules were remarkably specific to caruncular or intercaruncular areas of the endometrium. The quantitative association between genes expressed in extraembryonic tissue and endometrium emphasize a coordinated communication between these two entities in mammals. We provide evidence that implantation in mammalian pregnancy relies on the ability of the extraembryonic tissue and the endometrium to develop a fine-tuned adaptive response characteristic of each pregnancy.

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