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Regulation of trophoblast beta1-integrin expression by contact with endothelial cells

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      Abstract

      BackgroundIn human and non-human primates, migratory trophoblasts penetrate the uterine epithelium, invade uterine matrix, and enter the uterine vasculature. Invasive trophoblasts show increased expression of β1 integrin. Since trophoblast migration within the uterine vasculature involves trophoblast attachment to endothelial cells lining the vessel walls, this raises the possibility that cell-cell contact and/or factors released by endothelial cells could regulate trophoblast integrin expression. To test this, we used an in vitro system consisting of early gestation macaque trophoblasts co-cultured on top of uterine microvascular endothelial cells.ResultsWhen cultured alone, trophoblasts expressed low levels of β1 integrin as determined by quantitative immunofluorescence microscopy. When trophoblasts were cultured on top of endothelial cells for 24 h, the expression of trophoblast β1 integrin was significantly increased as determined by image analysis. β1 Integrin expression was not increased when trophoblasts were cultured with endothelial cell-conditioned medium, suggesting that upregulation requires direct contact between trophoblasts and endothelial cells. To identify endothelial cell surface molecules responsible for induction of trophoblast integrin expression, trophoblasts were cultured in dishes coated with recombinant platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), or αVβ3 integrin. Trophoblast β1 integrin expression (assessed by immunofluorescence microscopy and Western blotting) was increased when PECAM-1 or αVβ3 integrin, but not ICAM-1, was used as substrate.ConclusionsDirect contact between trophoblasts and endothelial cells increases the expression of trophoblast β1 integrin.

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      Role of integrins in cell invasion and migration.

      As cancer cells undergo metastasis--invasion and migration of a new tissue--they penetrate and attach to the target tissue's basal matrix. This allows the cancer cell to pull itself forward into the tissue. The attachment is mediated by cell-surface receptors known as integrins, which bind to components of the extracellular matrix. Integrins are crucial for cell invasion and migration, not only for physically tethering cells to the matrix, but also for sending and receiving molecular signals that regulate these processes.
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        Human cytotrophoblasts adopt a vascular phenotype as they differentiate. A strategy for successful endovascular invasion?

        Establishment of the human placenta requires that fetal cytotrophoblast stem cells in anchoring chorionic villi become invasive. These cytotrophoblasts aggregate into cell columns and invade both the uterine interstitium and vasculature, anchoring the fetus to the mother and establishing blood flow to the placenta. Cytotrophoblasts colonizing spiral arterioles replace maternal endothelium as far as the first third of the myometrium. We show here that differentiating cytotrophoblasts transform their adhesion receptor phenotype so as to resemble the endothelial cells they replace. Cytotrophoblasts in cell columns show reduced E-cadherin staining and express VE-(endothelial) cadherin, platelet-endothelial adhesion molecule-1, vascular endothelial adhesion molecule-1, and alpha-4-integrins. Cytotrophoblasts in the uterine interstitium and maternal vasculature continue to express these receptors, and, like endothelial cells during angiogenesis, also stain for alphaVbeta3. In functional studies, alphaVbeta3 and VE-cadherin enhance, while E-cadherin restrains, cytotrophoblast invasiveness. Cytotrophoblasts expressing alpha4 integrins bound immobilized VCAM-1 in vitro, suggesting that this receptor-pair could mediate cytotrophoblast-endothelium or cytotrophoblast-cytotrophoblast interactions in vivo, during endovascular invasion. In the pregnancy disorder preeclampsia, in which endovascular invasion remains superficial, cytotrophoblasts fail to express most of these endothelial markers (Zhou et al., 1997. J. Clin. Invest. 99:2152-2164.), suggesting that this adhesion phenotype switch is required for successful endovascular invasion and normal placentation.
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          Integrin switching regulates normal trophoblast invasion.

          Cells invade extracellular matrices in a regulated manner at specific times and places during normal development. A dramatic example is trophoblast invasion of the uterine wall. Previous studies have shown that differentiation of trophoblasts to an invasive phenotype is accompanied by temporally and spatially regulated switching of their integrin repertoire. In the first trimester human placenta, alpha 6 integrins are restricted to cytotrophoblast (CTB) stem cells and downregulated in invasive CTBs, whereas alpha 5 beta 1 and alpha 1 beta 1 integrins are upregulated in differentiating and invasive CTBs. The goal of the present study was to determine whether these changes have functional consequences for CTB invasiveness. Using an in vitro invasion model, we determined first that aggregates of invading first trimester CTBs in vitro undergo the same pattern of integrin switching as was observed in situ, thereby validating the utility of the model. We then showed that antibody perturbation of interactions involving laminin or collagen type IV and their integrin alpha 1/beta 1 receptor inhibited invasion by CTBs, whereas perturbing interactions between fibronectin and the alpha 5/beta 1 fibronectin receptor accelerated invasion. Finally, we report that later gestation CTBs, which display greatly decreased invasive capacity, are also unable to upregulate alpha 1 beta 1 complexes, providing further evidence that this integrin is critical for CTB invasion. This gestational regulation is transcriptional. These data indicate that integrin switching observed during differentiation in situ has significant functional consequences for CTB invasion. The data suggest further that differentiating CTBs upregulate counterbalancing invasion-accelerating and invasion-restraining adhesion mechanisms. We propose that this contributes to regulating the depth of CTB invasion during normal implantation.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis CA 95616, USA
            [2 ]Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, University of California, Davis CA 95616, USA
            Contributors
            Journal
            Cell Commun Signal
            Cell communication and signaling : CCS
            BioMed Central (London )
            1478-811X
            2004
            9 June 2004
            : 2
            : 4
            434534
            1478-811X-2-4
            15189562
            10.1186/1478-811X-2-4
            Copyright © 2004 Thirkill et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose, provided this notice is preserved along with the article's original URL.
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            Research

            Cell biology

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