Apr 21, 2020

Mechanical and signaling mechanisms that guide pre-implantation embryo movement.

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
D. FloresRipla Arora


How a mammalian embryo determines and arrives at its site of attachment is a mystery that has puzzled researchers for decades. Additionally, in multiparous species, embryos face a unique challenge of achieving adequate spacing to avoid competition for maternal resources. Using our enhanced confocal imaging and 3D image reconstruction technology, we evaluate murine embryo location in the uterus along the longitudinal oviductal-cervical axis. Our analysis reveals three distinct pre-implantation stages: a) Embryo entry; b) Unidirectional movement of embryo clusters; and c) Bidirectional scattering and spacing of embryos. We show that unidirectional movement of embryo clusters is facilitated by a mechanical stimulus of the embryo as a physical object and is regulated by adrenergic uterine smooth muscle contractions. Embryo scattering, on the other hand, relies on embryo-uterine communication reliant on the LPAR3 signaling pathway and is independent of adrenergic muscle contractions. We propose that the presence of embryo clusters in the uterine horn provides an opportunity for the uterus to sense and count the embryos, followed by scattering and spacing these embryos along the given length of the horn. Thus, uterine implantation si...Continue Reading

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