The transforming growth factor 2 (TGF2) superfamily, the largest family of secreted proteins in mammals, includes the bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), actives, and myostatin. These ligands signal through a heteromeric complex of type 1 and type 2 serine/threonine kinase receptors. Ligand-induced dimerization of these receptors leads to phosphorylation of receptor-regulated SMAD proteins, which translocate to the nucleus with SMAD4 to regulate gene expression. These signaling pathways have been implicated in many pathophysiologic processes. For example, at the end of the first trimester, activin A levels are elevated in women who will eventually develop preeclampsia, and the BMP/activin/myostatin type 2 receptor, ACVR2A, has been identified as a candidate maternal susceptibility gene for preeclampsia. With the support of this grant that started in 1994, we have generated and analyzed mice with mutations in activin subunits, a ligand binding protein (follistatin), a downstream receptor-binding protein (FKBP12), several SMADs, and multiple BMP/activin/myostatin receptors. The phenotypes of our genetic models range from neonatal lethality to infertility to cancer. These models have been indispensable for deciphering TGF2 superfamily signaling pathways in the gonads and modeling clinical reproductive diseases including infertility, premature ovarian failure, and ovarian and testicular cancer. These HD32067-supported studies have resulted in 43 papers published during the current grant period and 87 publications overall including high impact papers in Nature, Nature Genetics, Nature Medicine, Science, Genes and Development, and Developmental Cell. The overall goals of this R01 renewal will be to follow-up these studies by analyzing the unique and redundant roles of the type 1 and type 2 receptors in BMP signaling in the uterus and identifying new agents for inhibiting and/or mimicking the functions of BMPs, activins and myostatin in uterine, ovarian, muscle, and bone physiology.
The Specific Aims of these proposed studies are: 1) Define the BMP receptor pathways in implantation and post- implantation uterine biology, and 2) Identify and synthesize small molecule BMP receptor-specific antagonists and agonists. These proposed studies will allow us to genetically place TGF2 superfamily ligands, receptors, and downstream SMADs into biological pathways in the female reproductive tract, and identify and synthesize compounds for future treatments of human reproductive and non-reproductive diseases.

Public Health Relevance

The transforming growth factor 2 (TGF2) superfamily is the largest family of secreted proteins in mammals, and TGF2 signaling pathways have been implicated in a diversity of developmental and pathophysiological processes including preeclampsia. Over the last 19 years, we have used multiple in vivo and in vitro approaches to dissect the essential and redundant roles of these signaling pathways. The objectives of this R01 renewal are to mechanistically define the unique and redundant roles of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) type 1 and type 2 receptors during implantation and post-implantation and to identify new drugs for inhibiting or mimicking the functions of BMPs, activins, and myostatin for treatments of clinically important reproductive and non-reproductive diseases.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Pregnancy and Neonatology Study Section (PN)
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Yoshinaga, Koji
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Baylor College of Medicine
Schools of Medicine
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Fullerton Jr, Paul T; Monsivais, Diana; Kommagani, Ramakrishna et al. (2017) Follistatin is critical for mouse uterine receptivity and decidualization. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114:E4772-E4781
Balhara, Jyoti; Shan, Lianyu; Zhang, Jingbo et al. (2017) Pentraxin 3 deletion aggravates allergic inflammation through a TH17-dominant phenotype and enhanced CD4 T-cell survival. J Allergy Clin Immunol 139:950-963.e9
Monsivais, Diana; Matzuk, Martin M; Pangas, Stephanie A (2017) The TGF-? Family in the Reproductive Tract. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol 9:
Monsivais, Diana; Clementi, Caterina; Peng, Jia et al. (2017) BMP7 Induces Uterine Receptivity and Blastocyst Attachment. Endocrinology 158:979-992
Monsivais, Diana; Clementi, Caterina; Peng, Jia et al. (2016) Uterine ALK3 is essential during the window of implantation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113:E387-95
Peng, Jia; Monsivais, Diana; You, Ran et al. (2015) Uterine activin receptor-like kinase 5 is crucial for blastocyst implantation and placental development. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 112:E5098-107
Lin, Haifan; Matzuk, Martin M (2015) Poreless eggshells. J Clin Invest 125:4005-7
Clementi, Caterina; Tripurani, Swamy K; Large, Michael J et al. (2013) Activin-like kinase 2 functions in peri-implantation uterine signaling in mice and humans. PLoS Genet 9:e1003863
Nagashima, Takashi; Li, Qinglei; Clementi, Caterina et al. (2013) BMPR2 is required for postimplantation uterine function and pregnancy maintenance. J Clin Invest 123:2539-50
Matzuk, Martin M; Burns, Kathleen H (2012) Genetics of mammalian reproduction: modeling the end of the germline. Annu Rev Physiol 74:503-28

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