Single-cell sequencing of neonatal uterus reveals an endometrial progenitor indispensable for fertility
The Mullerian ducts are the anlagen of the female reproductive tract, which regress in the male fetus in response to MIS. This process is driven by subluminal mesenchymal cells expressing Misr2, which trigger the regression of the adjacent Mullerian ductal epithelium. In females these Misr2+ cells are retained, yet their contribution to the development of the uterus remains unknown. Here, we report that subluminal Misr2+ cells persist postnatally in the uterus of rodents, but recede by week 37 of gestation in humans. Using single-cell RNA sequencing we demonstrate that ectopic postnatal MIS administration inhibits these cells and prevents the formation of endometrial stroma in rodents, suggesting a progenitor function. Exposure to MIS during the first six days of life, by inhibiting specification of the stroma, dysregulates paracrine signals necessary for uterine development, eventually resulting in apoptosis of the Misr2+ cells, uterine hypoplasia, and complete infertility in the adult female.
Sequencing data have been deposited in OSF platform, the link is as follows:https://osf.io/27hej/?view_only=23f651c1523b4653a250780767160db7
Article and author information
Michelson Prize and Grants (MG14-S06R)
- Patricia K Donahoe
- David Pépin
- Hatice Duygu Saatcioglu
Sudna Gar Fellowship
- David Pépin
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in accordance with experimental protocols 2009N000033 and 2014N000275 approved by the Massachusetts General Hospital Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
Human subjects: Human fetal tissue sections were procured by the Massachusetts General Hospital, Gynecological Pathology Department through The Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved protocol (#IRB 2007P001918).
- Hao Zhu, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, United States
- Received: February 25, 2019
- Accepted: June 24, 2019
- Accepted Manuscript published: June 24, 2019 (version 1)
- Version of Record published: July 23, 2019 (version 2)
© 2019, Saatcioglu et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
- Page views
Article citation count generated by polling the highest count across the following sources: Crossref, PubMed Central, Scopus.
Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)
Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)
Cite this article (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)
- Developmental Biology
Histone acetylation is a pivotal epigenetic modification that controls chromatin structure and regulates gene expression. It plays an essential role in modulating zygotic transcription and cell lineage specification of developing embryos. While the outcomes of many inductive signals have been described to require enzymatic activities of histone acetyltransferases and deacetylases (HDACs), the mechanisms by which HDACs confine the utilization of the zygotic genome remain to be elucidated. Here, we show that histone deacetylase 1 (Hdac1) progressively binds to the zygotic genome from mid blastula and onward. The recruitment of Hdac1 to the genome at blastula is instructed maternally. Cis-regulatory modules (CRMs) bound by Hdac1 possess epigenetic signatures underlying distinct functions. We highlight a dual function model of Hdac1 where Hdac1 not only represses gene expression by sustaining a histone hypoacetylation state on inactive chromatin, but also maintains gene expression through participating in dynamic histone acetylation-deacetylation cycles on active chromatin. As a result, Hdac1 maintains differential histone acetylation states of bound CRMs between different germ layers and reinforces the transcriptional program underlying cell lineage identities, both in time and space. Taken together, our study reveals a comprehensive role for Hdac1 during early vertebrate embryogenesis.
- Developmental Biology
- Genetics and Genomics
The development of tools to manipulate the mouse genome, including knockout and transgenic technology, has revolutionized our ability to explore gene function in mammals. Moreover, for genes that are expressed in multiple tissues or at multiple stages of development, the use of tissue-specific expression of the Cre recombinase allows gene function to be perturbed in specific cell types and/or at specific times. However, it is well known that putative tissue-specific promoters often drive unanticipated 'off target' expression. In our efforts to explore the biology of the male reproductive tract, we unexpectedly found that expression of Cre in the central nervous system resulted in recombination in the epididymis, a tissue where sperm mature for ~1-2 weeks following the completion of testicular development. Remarkably, we not only observed reporter expression in the epididymis when Cre expression was driven from neuron-specific transgenes, but also when Cre expression in the brain was induced from an AAV vector carrying a Cre expression construct. A surprisingly wide range of Cre drivers - including six different neuronal promoters as well as the adipose-specific Adipoq Cre promoter - exhibited off target recombination in the epididymis, with a subset of drivers also exhibiting unexpected activity in other tissues such as the reproductive accessory glands. Using a combination of parabiosis and serum transfer experiments, we find evidence supporting the hypothesis that Cre may be trafficked from its cell of origin to the epididymis through the circulatory system. Together, our findings should motivate extreme caution when interpreting conditional alleles, and suggest the exciting possibility of inter-tissue RNA or protein trafficking in modulation of reproductive biology.