The Expression of Interferon-Stimulated Gene 15 in Equine Endometrium


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Abstract

ContentsEstablishment of pregnancy is critically dependent upon a precisely orchestrated embryo–maternal interaction leading to a receptive uterine environment. The up-regulation of the interferon-stimulated protein 15 kDa (ISG15) during pregnancy has been described in various species and has been hypothesized to be part of the molecular repertoire that makes the uterus receptive to conceptus development. In the current study, the expression of ISG15 and enzymes involved in ISG15ylation was examined at the mRNA and protein level in equine endometrium at Day 14 of the luteal phase and at Day 14 and 50 of pregnancy. ISG15 mRNA showed a 2.63-fold higher expression at Day 14 of pregnancy when compared to Day 14 of the cycle, while mRNA abundance at Day 50 of pregnancy was unchanged compared to Day 14 of the cycle. Upon Western blot analysis using anti-ISG15 antibody, several higher molecular weight bands could be observed, representing proteins conjugated to ISG15. No free ISG15 could be detected. The pattern of ISG15 reactive proteins differed from those observed in non-uterine samples. Upon immunohistochemistry, ISG15 reactive proteins located primarily to luminal and glandular epithelial cells, while stromal cells showed weaker staining. In conclusion, the expression of ISG15-conjugated proteins in equine endometrium did not differ between cyclic and pregnant 14 days after ovulation and Day 50 of pregnancy. It is hypothesized that the unique subset of ISG15ylated proteins expressed in endometrial tissue contributes to normal cellular function and that, unlike other species, the modification of ISG15-conjugated proteins is not an active contributor to conceptus–maternal interaction in the mare.

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