Progesterone receptor isoform B regulates the Oxtr-Plcl2-Trpc3 pathway to suppress uterine contractility

Mary C. Peavey, San Pin Wu, Rong Li, Jian Liu, Olivia M. Emery, Tianyuan Wang, Lecong Zhou, Margeaux Wetendorf, Chandra Yallampalli, William E. Gibbons, John P. Lydon, Francesco J. DeMayo
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America2021
Uterine contractile dysfunction leads to pregnancy complications such as preterm birth and labor dystocia. In humans, it is hypothesized that progesterone receptor isoform PGR-B promotes a relaxed state of the myometrium, and PGR-A facilitates uterine contraction. This hypothesis was tested in vivo using transgenic mouse models that overexpress PGR-A or PGR-B in smooth muscle cells. Elevated PGR-B abundance results in a marked increase in gestational length compared to control mice (21.1 versus 19.1 d respectively, P < 0.05). In both ex vivo and in vivo experiments, PGR-B overexpression leads to prolonged labor, a significant decrease in uterine contractility, and a high incidence of labor dystocia. Conversely, PGR-A overexpression leads to an increase in uterine contractility without a change in gestational length. Uterine RNA sequencing at midpregnancy identified 1,174 isoform-specific downstream targets and 424 genes that are commonly regulated by both PGR isoforms. Gene signature analyses further reveal PGR-B for muscle relaxation and PGR-A being proinflammatory. Elevated PGR-B abundance reduces Oxtr and Trpc3 and increases Plcl2 expression, which manifests a genetic profile of compromised oxytocin signaling. Functionally, both endogenous PLCL2 and its paralog PLCL1 can attenuate uterine muscle cell contraction in a CRISPRa-based assay system. These findings provide in vivo support that PGR isoform levels determine distinct transcriptomic landscapes and pathways in myometrial function and labor, which may help further the understanding of abnormal uterine function in the clinical setting.
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