Hormonal control and function of secretory proteins. Academic Article uri icon


  • The uterus of the pig secretes large amounts of protein in response to progesterone. Estrogen alone has little effect but in combination with progesterone is synergistic at low doses and inhibitory at high doses. The responses of the uterus to progesterone require prolonged hormone treatment and are not immediate. The proteins secreted by the uterus of all species are believed to play some role in the nutritional and developmental support of the conceptuses, particularly during early pregnancy. Such a role is likely to be of greater importance in species such as the pig which possesses a noninvasive, diffuse-type of epitheliochorial placentation. A group of basic polypeptides dominates the uterine secretions of the pig. The best characterized is uteroferrin, a purple colored, iron-containing acid phosphatase which transports iron across the placenta. Three polypeptides which are found associated noncovalently with uteroferrin have been shown to be antigenically closely related to each other and to have arisen from a single precursor polypeptide. Their function is unknown. A family of plasmin/trypsin inhibitors which show sequence homology with bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor (aprotinin) has been well characterized and appears to control intrauterine proteolytic events initiated by the conceptuses. Several other proteins secreted in response to progesterone remain to be characterized and functionally defined.

published proceedings

  • Adv Exp Med Biol

author list (cited authors)

  • Roberts, R. M., Murray, M. K., Burke, M. G., Ketcham, C. M., & Bazer, F. W.

citation count

  • 18

complete list of authors

  • Roberts, RM||Murray, MK||Burke, MG||Ketcham, CM||Bazer, FW

publication date

  • January 1987