The involvement of proline-rich 15 in early conceptus development in sheep

Biol Reprod. 2009 Dec;81(6):1112-21. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.109.076190. Epub 2009 Jul 15.


The ruminant conceptus undergoes a period of elongation that is required for maternal recognition of pregnancy, prior to attaching to the endometrium. The purpose of these studies was to investigate the role of proline-rich 15 (PRR15) in the sheep conceptus by examining mRNA expression, protein localization, and the effect of PRR15 mRNA degradation. Conceptuses were collected on Days 11, 13, 15, 16, 17, 21, and 30 after mating. Quantitative RT-PCR showed expression of PRR15 mRNA corresponded with the process of trophoblast elongation, with peak expression occurring on Days 15 and 16. A recombinant ovine PRR15 was generated and used to create polyclonal antibodies against PRR15. Immunohistochemistry of a Day 15 conceptus indicated that PRR15 was localized predominantly in the nucleus of the trophectoderm and extraembryonic primitive endoderm. To test whether PRR15 was required during early conceptus development, RNA interference was employed. Blastocysts collected on Day 8 after mating were infected with a lentivirus expressing a short-hairpin RNA (shRNA) that targeted PRR15 mRNA for degradation, an shRNA containing a three-nucleotide mismatch to PRR15 mRNA, or a lentivirus expressing no shRNA. After infection, blastocysts were transferred into recipient ewes and collected back on Day 15 of gestation. Although the majority of the control and mismatched shRNA-treated conceptuses elongated and survived to Day 15, none of the embryos treated with the lentivirus expressing shRNA against PRR15 mRNA elongated, and most died. In conclusion, expression of PRR15 mRNA occurred during a narrow window of conceptus development, and degradation of PRR15 mRNA led to conceptus demise or abnormal development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blastocyst / metabolism*
  • Embryo Implantation / genetics
  • Embryo Implantation / physiology
  • Embryo Transfer
  • Embryo, Mammalian / metabolism
  • Embryonic Development / genetics
  • Embryonic Development / physiology*
  • Endometrium / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology*
  • Genes / genetics
  • Genes / physiology*
  • Gestational Age
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Interferon Type I / genetics
  • Interferon Type I / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Placenta / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Proteins / genetics
  • Pregnancy Proteins / metabolism
  • Pregnancy, Animal*
  • Proline / genetics*
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sheep / physiology*
  • Trophoblasts / metabolism


  • Interferon Type I
  • Pregnancy Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • trophoblastin
  • Proline