Enhancer of Zeste 2 Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 Subunit Is Required for Uterine Epithelial Integrity
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Normal proliferation and differentiation of uterine epithelial cells are critical for uterine development and function. Enhancer of zeste 2 polycomb repressive complex 2 subunit (EZH2), a core component of polycomb repressive complexes 2, possesses histone methyltransferase activity that catalyzes the trimethylation of lysine 27 of histone H3. EZH2 has been involved in epithelial-mesenchymal transition, a key event in development and carcinogenesis. However, its role in uterine epithelial cell function remains unknown. To determine the role of uterine EZH2, Ezh2 was conditionally deleted using progesterone receptor Cre recombinase, which is expressed in both epithelial and mesenchymal compartments of the uterus. Loss of EZH2 promoted stratification of uterine epithelium, an uncommon and detrimental event in the uterus. The abnormal epithelium expressed basal cell markers, including tumor protein 63, cytokeratin 5 (KRT5), KRT6A, and KRT14. These results suggest that EZH2 serves as a guardian of uterine epithelial integrity, partially via inhibiting the differentiation of basal-like cells and preventing epithelial stratification. The observed epithelial abnormality was accompanied by fertility defects, altered uterine growth and function, and the development of endometrial hyperplasia. Thus, the Ezh2 conditional knockout mouse model may be useful to explore mechanisms that regulate endometrial homeostasis and uterine function.
author list (cited authors)
Fang, X., Ni, N., Lydon, J. P., Ivanov, I., Bayless, K. J., Rijnkels, M., & Li, Q.