Uterine SOX17: a key player in human endometrial receptivity and embryo implantation

Sophie Kinnear, Lois Adrienne Salamonsen, Mathias Francois, Vincent Russel Harley, Jemma Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The yin and yang of female fertility is a complicated issue; large numbers of women/couples desire fertility and seek assisted reproduction intervention to achieve conception, while others seek to prevent pregnancy. Understanding specific molecules which control endometrial-embryo interactions is essential for both facilitating and preventing pregnancy. SOX17 has recently emerged as an important transcription factor involved in endometrial receptivity and embryo implantation. However, studies to date have examined mouse models of pregnancy which do not necessarily translate to the human. Demonstration of a role for 'implantation factors' in a human system is critical to provide a rationale for in depth clinical investigation and targeting of such factors. We demonstrate that SOX17is present within the receptive human endometrium and is up-regulated within human endometrial epithelial cells by combined estrogen & progesterone, the hormonal milieu during the receptive window. SOX17 localizes to the point of adhesive contact between human endometrial epithelial cells and a human 'embryo mimic' model (trophectodermal spheroid). Targeting SOX17 in endometrial epithelial cells using CRISPR/Cas9 knockdown or a SOX-F family inhibitor, MCC177, significantly inhibited adhesion of an trophectodermal spheroids to the epithelial cells thereby preventing 'implantation'. These data confirm the important role of endometrial SOX17 in human endometrial receptivity and embryo implantation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number15495
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2019

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