Reproductive Biology

Forming a Maternal Attachment

Science's STKE  21 Jan 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 166, pp. tw36-TW36
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.166.tw36

The process of embryo implantation during mammalian reproduction involves signaling between the embryo and the uterus. Genbacev et al. (see the Perspective by Fazleabas and Kim) report that selectin adhesion systems, which operate in leukocyte capture from bloodstream, function during embryo implantation, too. On the maternal side, selectin oligosaccharide ligands are expressed in the uterine epithelium, and on the fetal side, trophoblast cells express L-selectin receptors. In both mouse and human models, this receptor-ligand pair is shown to mediate successful uterine attachment.

O. D. Genbacev, A. Prakobphol, R. A. Foulk, A. R. Krtolica, D. Ilic, M. S. Singer, Z.-Q. Yang, L. L. Kiessling, S. D. Rosen, S. J. Fisher, Trophoblast L-selectin-mediated adhesion at the maternal-fetal interface. Science 299, 405-408 (2003). [Abstract] [Full Text]

A. T. Fazleabas, J. J. Kim, What makes an embryo stick? Science 299, 355-356 (2003). [Summary] [Full Text]