The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 37: 519 - 529 (1993)

Vol 37, Issue 4

Involvement of the proto-oncogene c-ets 1 and the urokinase plasminogen activator during mouse implantation and placentation

Published: 30 November -0001

D Grevin, J H Chen, M B Raes, D Stehelin, B Vandenbunder and X Desbiens

Laboratoire d'Oncologie Mol├ęculaire, CNRS URA 1160, Institut Pasteur, Lille, France.


Many of the Ets proteins have been shown to be transcription activators. In vitro, Ets 1 proteins are involved in the transcriptional induction of genes such as stromelysin 1, collagenase 1 or urokinase type plasminogen activator, which are proteases responsible for extracellular matrix degradation. In vivo, c-ets 1 is expressed in a wide variety of embryonic tissues in migrating cells, especially in endothelial cells during blood vessel formation. C-ets 1 is also expressed in stromal cells of invasive carcinomas. In the present work, we have investigated the expression of both c-ets 1 and u-PA, a putative target gene of the Ets 1 proteins, within a biological model which includes both embryonic and tumoral aspects. Implantation and placentation of the mouse embryo display migration of the trophoblastic cells, which invade the stroma of the uterine endometrium and trigger the establishment of a new vascular frame. Using in situ hybridization, we show that the overlapping of expression of c-ets 1 and u-PA is restricted to some maternal cell populations from the invasive front and to the endothelial cells of the endometrial vasculature. C-ets 1 is never expressed in trophoblasts. In contrast, u-PA expression in trophoblasts is strong and coincides with the embryo invasive phase. In the embryo proper, c-ets 1 displays a spatio-temporal expression pattern similar to that described in the chick embryo. Until E 10.5, u-PA is expressed neither in embryonic nor in extra-embryonic structures. The respective roles of c-ets 1 and u-PA and their relationship during mammalian placentation are discussed.

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