Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 343, Issue 2, pp 445–453 | Cite as

Ezrin and EBP50 redistribute apically in rat uterine epithelial cells at the time of implantation and in response to cell contact

  • Laura LecceEmail author
  • Laura A. Lindsay
  • Christopher R. Murphy
Regular Article


Uterine epithelial cells (UECs) undergo extensive morphological remodelling in preparation for an implanting blastocyst. This remodelling involves changes in the actin cytoskeleton and surface structures including microvilli. Ezrin and ezrin-radixin-moesin-binding protein-50-kDa (EBP50) link actin filaments to intra-membranous adhesion molecules and are important molecules in polarised epithelia. The current study is the first to describe the colocalisation and molecular association of ezrin and EBP50 in rat UECs by using immunofluorescence microscopy and immunoprecipitation techniques. These proteins have also been localised in relation to uterine epithelial cytoskeletal rearrangement during early pregnancy in the rat and to the effect of apical surface contact between opposing epithelial cells, blastocyst contact and contact with a silicon filament. Immunofluorescence microscopy has revealed that ezrin and EBP50 respond to contact between opposing epithelial cells and increase apically on day 6 of pregnancy. This apical distribution is also observed in UECs in contact with a silicon filament. Ezrin and EBP50 are however absent within the implantation chamber itself, seemingly mimicking the events that take place in leucocyte-endothelium binding. Thus, ezrin and EBP50 occur apically in UECs at the time of implantation in the rat and in response to a substitute blastocyst (filament) suggesting a role for these proteins in the cytoskeletal rearrangements that facilitate uterine receptivity and blastocyst-epithelial adhesion. Their loss within the implantation chamber possibly allows the subsequent invasion of the embryo.


Uterine epithelial cells Implantation Ezrin EBP50 Uterine receptivity Rat (Wistar) 

Supplementary material

441_2010_1088_Fig5_ESM.gif (68 kb)
Fig. S1

Immunolocalisation of ezrin in the uterus of a non-pregnant rat. This image displays similar protein staining to that at day 1 of pregnancy. The uterine epithelial cells (UECs) display an abundance of cytoplasmic staining of ezrin, in addition to an apical concentration of ezrin in cells that contact opposing cells (arrowhead). This apical band is absent from UECs (ep) that face the lumen (L). Bar 30 μm. (GIF 68 kb)

441_2010_1088_MOESM1_ESM.tif (2.4 mb)
High resolution (TIFF 2459 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Lecce
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Laura A. Lindsay
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christopher R. Murphy
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Cell and Reproductive Biology LaboratorySchool of Medical SciencesSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Bosch InstituteThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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