Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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A Pair on Early Pregnancy – I Welcome Changes

Role of protein menin-1 in the epigenetics of early pregnancy

23 March 2022

Welcome Changes

During the earliest days of pregnancy, tissues in the uterus change, becoming more hospitable for the embryo – a process known as decidualization. In these rat uteruses a chemical called Menin-1, ‘switches on’ in different areas (highlighted in purple): prior to the embryo implanting (top left and middle) then later surrounding the outline of the implanted embryo (bottom row). Menin-1 changes the uterus cells’ epigenetics – chemicals that float around the DNA, affecting which genes can be accessed. This helps to ‘reprogramme’ the uterine cells, controlling growth factors to steady the pace of developments in the uterus. With this new window into early pregnancy, future research may look into ways to help human Menin-1 in its vital role and improve fertility.

Written by John Ankers

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