Pregnancy and interferon tau regulate RSAD2 and IFIH1 expression in the ovine uterus. Academic Article uri icon


  • Radical S-adenosyl methionine domain containing 2 (RSAD2) encodes a cytoplasmic antiviral protein induced by interferons (IFN). Interferon-induced with helicase C domain 1 (IFIH1) is a RNA helicase involved in innate immune defense against viruses, growth suppression, and apoptosis. Interferon tau (IFNT), a Type I IFN produced by the peri-implantation ruminant conceptus, acts on the uterine endometrium to signal pregnancy recognition and promote receptivity to implantation. Transcriptional profiling identified RSAD2 and IFIH1 as IFNT regulated genes in the ovine uterine endometrium. This study tested the hypothesis that RSAD2 and IFIH1 were induced in the endometrium in a cell type-specific manner by IFNT from the conceptus during early pregnancy. Endometrial RSAD2 and IFIH1 mRNA increased between days 12 and 16 of pregnancy, but not of the estrous cycle. In pregnant ewes, RSAD2 and IFIH1 mRNAs increased in endometrial glands, and stroma and immune cells, but not in the luminal epithelium. Neither gene was expressed in the trophectoderm of day 18 or 20 conceptuses. Progesterone (P4) treatment of ovariectomized ewes did not induce expression RSAD2 or IFIH1 mRNA in the endometrium; however, intrauterine injections of IFNT induced expression of RSAD2 and IFIH1 mRNA in endometria of ewes treated with P4, as well as in ewes treated with P4 and the progesterone receptor antagonist, ZK 136,317. These results indicate that conceptus IFNT induces both RSAD2 and IFIH1 in a P4-independent manner in the ovine uterine endometrium. These two IFNT-stimulated genes are proposed to have biological roles in the establishment of uterine receptivity to the conceptus during implantation through induction of an antiviral state and modulation of local immune cells in the endometrium.

published proceedings

  • Reproduction

author list (cited authors)

  • Song, G., Bazer, F. W., & Spencer, T. E.

citation count

  • 66

complete list of authors

  • Song, Gwonhwa||Bazer, Fuller W||Spencer, Thomas E

publication date

  • January 2007