Identification of sites of STAT3 action in the female reproductive tract through conditional gene deletion

Rebecca L. Robker, Laura N. Watson, Sarah A. Robertson, Kylie R. Dunning, Eileen A. McLaughlin, Darryl L. Russell

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Abstract

The STAT3 transcription factor is a pleiotropic transducer of signalling by hormones, growth factors and cytokines that has been identified in the female reproductive tract from oocytes and granulosa cells of the ovary to uterine epithelial and stromal cells. In the present study we used transgenic models to investigate the importance of STAT3 for reproductive performance in these different tissues. The Cre-LoxP system was used to delete STAT3 in oocytes by crossing Stat3 fl/fl with Zp3-cre+ mice, or in ovarian granulosa cells and uterine stroma by crossing with Amhr2-Cre+ mice. Surprisingly, deletion of STAT3 in oocytes had no effect on fertility indicating that the abundance of STAT3 protein in maturing oocytes and fertilized zygotes is not essential to these developmental stages. In Stat3fl/fl;Amhr2-cre + females impaired fertility was observed through significantly fewer litters and smaller litter size. Ovulation rate, oocyte fertilization and development to blastocyst were unaffected in this line; however, poor recombination efficiency in granulosa cells had yielded no net change in STAT3 protein abundance. In contrast, uteri from these mice showed STAT3 protein depletion selectively from the stomal compartment. A significant reduction in number of viable fetuses on gestational day 18, increased fetal resorptions and disrupted placental morphology were evident causes of the reduced fertility. In conclusion, this study defines an important role for STAT3 in uterine stromal cells during embryo implantation and the development of a functional placenta.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere101182
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS One
Volume9
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes

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Robker, R. L., Watson, L. N., Robertson, S. A., Dunning, K. R., McLaughlin, E. A., & Russell, D. L. (2014). Identification of sites of STAT3 action in the female reproductive tract through conditional gene deletion. PLoS One, 9(7), 1-10. [e101182]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0101182