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      The endometrial cell surface and implantation. Expression of the polymorphic mucin MUC-1 and adhesion molecules during the endometrial cycle.

      Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

      Female, Cell Adhesion Molecules, physiology, Cell Membrane, Embryo Implantation, Embryo, Mammalian, Endometrium, ultrastructure, Epithelium, Gene Expression Regulation, Glycosylation, Humans, Membrane Glycoproteins, analysis, chemistry, genetics, Mucin-1, Mucins, Pregnancy

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          Abstract

          The cell surface mucin MUC-1 is present in endometrial epithelial cells and their associated apical glycocalyx and is also released into gland lumens as a secretory product. MUC-1 mRNA and core protein are found at low levels in the proliferative phase of the cycle, but their abundance increases after ovulation. Endometrial MUC-1 has been found to carry sialokeratan sulphate chains and these show a dramatically increased abundance in cells and secretions in the post-ovulatory phase of the cycle, reaching a maximum in secretions 6-7 days after the LH peak. The apical epithelium also contains adhesion receptor molecules of the integrin and CD44 families. MUC-1 is large and highly glycosylated and probably extends farther from the cell surface than these 'conventional' glycoprotein receptors. It has the potential to inhibit sterically receptor-mediated cell-cell adhesion. However, it is also possible that MUC-1 displays specific (e.g., glycan) recognition structures for the initial attachment of the blastocyst or that the embryo may create a specialised microenvironment in which to implant.

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