The molecular mechanisms that regulate the expression of genes involved in parturition are poorly understood. The mRNA expression of the prostaglandin F2alpha receptor (PTGFR), a uterine activating gene, is increased at labor and is required for uterine contractile activity in numerous animal models, although the signaling pathways responsible for this increased expression have not been identified. Proinflammatory cytokines have been proposed to regulate the expression of the uterine activating genes via activation of the nuclear transcription factor, NFkappaB, and initiate labor. However, it is uncertain whether uterine PTGFR is regulated this way. In this report, we demonstrate for the first time that treatment of immortalized human myometrial-derived ULTR cells with the proinflammatory cytokine IL1beta causes an increase in PTGFR mRNA levels. Furthermore, IL1beta treatment increased the nuclear levels of the RELA subunit of NFkappaB and increased binding of RELA to the NFkappaB DNA-binding site. Inhibition of NFkappaB activation with either the proteasome inhibitor MG132 or phenethyl caffeiate reduced PTGFR mRNA levels, which indicates that this transcription factor is important for basal transcription. Furthermore, this inhibition prevented IL1beta induction of PTGFR mRNA, which confirms that NFkappaB is required for the IL1beta-induced increase in PTGFR. These results are consistent with the proposal that proinflammatory cytokines directly regulate uterine activation genes and that the transcription factor NFkappaB is involved in both basal and IL1beta-stimulated transcription of the PTGFR gene.
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