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Female fertility related to gene network interactions over multiple tissues

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3 oktober 2018

Female fertility is a highly regulated process involving multiple tissues. We showed that the transcriptomes of the porcine ovary, endometrium, and oviduct share gene profile regulation during the oestrous cycle.

Comprehensive understanding of the regulatory mechanism of the oestrous cycle in domestic animals is important for animal productivity and resolving reproductive problems such as infertility. Female fertility is a highly regulated process involving the synchronized activities of multiple tissues. We investigated the transcriptomes of the porcine ovary, endometrium, and oviduct at days 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, or 18 of the oestrous cycle. We analysed the transcriptome profiles of the individual tissues and focused on the bridging genes shared by two or more tissues.

The three tissue gene-networks were connected to each other by 65 bridging genes with a high level of connectivity to all other genes in the entire network. The expression levels showed negative correlations between the ovary and the other two tissues, and low correlations between endometrium and oviduct. The main functional annotations of these bridging genes involved biosynthesis of steroid hormones, cell-to-cell adhesion, and cell apoptosis, suggesting that regulation of steroid hormone synthesis and tissue viability are major regulatory mechanisms. This shows that these tissues have synchronized gene expression profiles during oestrous progression.