CD43 is relocated from the basal to the apical plasma membrane of rat uterine epithelial cells by progesterone
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Adhesion molecules play an important part in preparing uterine epithelial cells for receptivity to the implanting embryo, and their rearrangement is crucial in allowing successful implantation. CD43 is an adhesion molecule which has previously been suggested to take part in implantation in mice. Indirect immunofluorescence microscopy localising CD43 was performed on uterine tissue during early pregnancy, and tissue obtained from ovariectomised rats administered with ovarian hormones. Western blotting was performed during early pregnancy on isolated epithelial cells and ovariectomised rats for comparison of the amount of CD43. Immunofluorescence microscopy showed CD43 was situated basally in uterine luminal epithelial cells on day 1 of pregnancy and during oestrogen administration, corresponding to a 95-kDa band of CD43 seen in western blotting. At the time of implantation, and during progesterone or progesterone plus oestrogen combined treatment, CD43 is apical in uterine luminal epithelial cells, resulting in an 85-kDa form of CD43. We suggest that a de-glycosylated form of CD43 moves from basally to apically at the time of implantation, thus facilitating blastocyst attachment to uterine epithelial cells as well as their removal.