Attachment of the conceptus trophoblast (Tr) to the uterine luminal epithelium (LE) is critical for successful implantation. This study determined whether alpha v (av) integrins (ITGAV) directly mediate porcine trophoblast cell adhesion to secreted phosphoprotein 1 (SPP1, also known as osteopontin (OPN)) and examined the temporal/spatial expression of ITGAV, beta 3 (b3, ITGB3) and beta 6 (b6, ITGB6) integrin subunits, and SPP1, at the uterine-placental interface of pigs. Knockdown of ITGAV in porcine Tr (pTr2) cells by siRNA reduced pTr2 attachment to SPP1. In situ hybridization confirmed the presence of ITGAV, ITGB3 and ITGB6 mRNAs in uterine LE and conceptus Tr between Days 9 and 60 of gestation, with no change in the magnitude of expression over the course of pregnancy. Exogenous E2 or P4 did not affect ITGAV, ITGB3 and ITGB6 mRNA expression in the uteri of ovariectomized gilts. Immunofluorescence identified ITGAV, ITGB3 and SPP1 proteins in large aggregates at the uterine LE-placental Tr/chorion interface on Day 25, but aggregates were no longer observed by Day 50 of gestation. These results are the first to directly demonstrate that pTr2 cells engage ITGAV-containing integrin receptors to adhere to SPP1 and suggest that mechanical forces generated by tethering elongating conceptuses to uterine LE leads to assembly of focal adhesions containing ITGAV and SPP1; however, as placentation progresses, subsequent folding/interdigitation at the uterine-placental interface disperses mechanical forces resulting in the loss of focal adhesions.
© 2017 Society for Reproduction and Fertility.