Gene expression analysis comparing nonpregnant with pregnant bovine uteri, including placenta, was performed with a custom cDNA microarray containing 1,933 independent genes. These genes were classified into six categories according to biological function, as follows: cell and tissue structural dynamics (108 genes), intercellular communication (221), intracellular metabolism (265), cell cycle and apoptosis (26), regulation of gene expression (113), expressed sequence tag (EST) and function unknown (617), and uncomplemented genes (583 clones). This array possessed bovine placental/endometrial specificity, as it included many pregnancy-specific molecules, such as pregnancy-associated glycoprotein-1 (PAGs), placental lactogen (PLs), and prolactin-related protein-1 (PRPs). A total of 77 genes were induced and 12 repressed in the placenta/endometrium. Our results point to a fundamental role for bovine placental-specific genes such as PAGs, PLs, and PRPs, in implantation and placentogenesis, and document that cDNA microarray analysis from bovine placenta/endometrium is possible and is a specific tool for monitoring genome-wide gene expression during the establishment and maintenance of pregnancy.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.