Pro-protein convertases (PCs) other than PC6 are not tightly regulated for implantation in the human endometrium

Claudia Freyer, L. M. Kilpatrick, L. A. Salamonsen, G. Nie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Pro-protein convertases (PCs) are a family of serine proteases (furin, PC1/3, PC2, PACE4, PC4, PC5/6, PC7/8) responsible for post-translational processing and activation of inactive precursors of many regulatory proteins. Endometrial PC6 is critical for implantation in mice and for decidualization of human endometrial stromal cells (ESCs). This study investigated the endometrial expression of other PCs during the menstrual cycle and early pregnancy to elucidate potential redundancies. Furin, PC4, PACE4, and PC7 along with PC6 transcripts were detected in total endometrial RNA, whereas PC1 and PC2 transcription levels were negligible. Quantitative RT-PCR demonstrated highest levels of furin mRNA during menstruation and lowest levels during the proliferative phase. Furin protein was immunolocalized in endometrial luminal and glandular epithelia, stromal fibroblasts, endothelia, and leukocytes. PACE4 and PC7 proteins were also immunodetected in endometrial stroma and glands. Total furin, PC7, and PACE4 proteins were constitutive in both stromal and glandular compartments throughout the cycle and during first trimester pregnancy. Furthermore, Furin and PC7 transcription was unaltered during decidualization of ESCs in vitro in contrast to PC6 which is significantly up-regulated during decidualization. Thus, whereas PC6 is tightly regulated during endometrial preparation for implantation, furin, PACE4, and PC7 are constitutively expressed in human endometrium, but must be considered if PC6 is to be targeted for manipulation of fertility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1189-1197
Number of pages9
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes

Cite this