Aims of the
The DFG Research Unit 478 “Mechanisms of
embryo-maternal communication” has successfully entered the
second funding period (2006-2008). An interdisciplinary team
involving experts in embryology, biology of reproduction,
biotechnology, and functional genome research was
established and further developed to systematically dissect
the embryo-maternal cross-talk in cattle in the
pre-implantation period. This is achieved by bringing
together optimized animal models (e.g. monozygotic twins)
and cell culture systems with state-of-the-art techniques
for transcriptome and proteome analysis, and bioinformatics.
achievements of the first funding period include (see also list of
Holistic transcriptome profiles and candidate gene
characterization of oviduct epithelial cells and endometrium in
various stages of the estrous cycle
Optimized cell culture systems for oviduct epithelial cells and
Holistic transcriptome profiles of oviduct epithelial cells after
co-culture with embryos
Holistic transcriptome and proteome profiles as well as candidate
gene characterization of pregnant endometrium in the
pre-attachment period in two independent in vivo models (cows
after embryo transfer; heifers after artificial insemination)
custom made bovine oviduct endometrium (BOE) array with 900
insights into the role of the extraembryonic matrix as a „mail
box“ for signals in the embryo-maternal dialog
on these results the goals for the second funding period include an
in-depth analysis of specific aspects of embryo-maternal
communication using sophisticated experimental designs and
analytical tools with markedly improved sensitivity. Specifically,
we will address the following topics:
Investigation of position-dependent interactions with the
endometrium by holistic transcriptome (Wolf/Blum/Reichenbach) and
proteome studies (Arnold) using GFP-transgenic embryos
Characterization of interferon tau-specific effects on
transcriptome profiles (Wolf/Blum/ Reichenbach) and proteome
profiles (Arnold) in the endometrium.
Nuclear transfer embryos as a model for disturbed embryo-maternal
interactions (transcriptome study: Wolf/Blum/Reichenbach, proteome
Verification and functional validation of candidate genes
identified in a-c is facilitated by the development of co-culture
systems of embryos with oviduct or endometrium cells (Boelhauve/Hiendleder).
Mechanisms of embryo-maternal immune modulation will be
characterized by RT-qPCR studies of candidate genes in endometrium
and immune cells of the intrauterine fluid (Ulbrich/Meyer/Einspanier).
Holistic transcriptome analyses of various stages of in vivo
derived vs. in vitro produced bovine embryos for monitoring
embryonic development (Niemann/Adjaye).
First holistic proteome studies of preimplantation embryos using
highly sensitive labeling techniques (Arnold).
Analysis of changes of nuclear architecture and the
temporal/spatial occurrence of apoptosis in in vivo derived vs. in
vitro produced embryos (Sinowatz/Habermann).
These experiments will provide a unique set of data for modeling
the processes of embryo-maternal interaction and implantation
using a systems biology approach.
interactions between the individual projects are outlined in the
Prof. Dr. Eckhard Wolf
Lehrstuhl für Molekulare Tierzucht und Biotechnologie
Genzentrum der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München