AP-1 Subunit JUNB Promotes Invasive Phenotypes in Endometriosis

Reprod Sci. 2022 Nov;29(11):3266-3277. doi: 10.1007/s43032-022-00974-3. Epub 2022 May 26.


Endometriosis is a disease defined by the presence of abnormal endometrium at ectopic sites, causing pain and infertility in 10% of women. Mutations in the chromatin remodeling protein ARID1A (AT-rich interactive domain-containing protein 1A) have been identified in endometriosis, particularly in the more severe deep infiltrating endometriosis and ovarian endometrioma subtypes. ARID1A has been shown to regulate chromatin at binding sites of the Activator Protein 1 (AP-1) transcription factor, and AP-1 expression has been shown in multiple endometriosis models. Here, we describe a role for AP-1 subunit JUNB in promoting invasive phenotypes in endometriosis. Through a series of knockdown experiments in the 12Z endometriosis cell line, we show that JUNB expression in endometriosis promotes the expression of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition genes co-regulated by ARID1A including transcription factors SNAI1 and SNAI2, cell adhesion molecules ICAM1 and VCAM1, and extracellular matrix remodelers LOX and LOXL2. In highly invasive ARID1A-deficient endometriotic cells, co-knockdown of JUNB is sufficient to suppress invasion. These results suggest that AP-1 plays an important role in the progression of invasive endometriosis, and that therapeutic inhibition of AP-1 could prevent the occurrence of deep infiltrating endometriosis.

Keywords: AP-1; ARID1A; EMT; Endometriosis; Endometrium; Invasion; JUNB.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Endometriosis* / genetics
  • Endometriosis* / metabolism
  • Endometrium / metabolism
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Phenotype
  • Transcription Factor AP-1 / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Transcription Factor AP-1
  • JunB protein, human
  • Transcription Factors