Preserving the uterus in a state of relative quiescence is vital to the maintenance of a successful pregnancy. Elevated cytoplasmic levels of uterine caspase 3 during pregnancy have been proposed as a potential regulator of uterine quiescence through direct targeting and disabling of the uterine contractile architecture. However, despite highly elevated levels of uterine caspase 3 during pregnancy, there is minimal evidence of apoptosis. This current study defines the mechanism whereby the pregnant uterine myocyte may harness the tocolytic activity of active caspases while avoiding apoptotic cell death. Using the pregnant mouse model, we have analyzed the uterus for changes in pro- and antiapoptotic signaling patterns associated with the advancing stages of pregnancy. Briefly, we have found that members of the IAP family, such as SURVIVIN and XIAP, and the Bcl2 family members, such as MCL1, are elevated in the uterine myocyte during late gestation. The IAP family members are the only endogenous inhibitors of active caspase 3, and MCL1 limits activation of caspase 3 by suppressing proapoptotic signaling. Elevated XIAP levels partner with SURVIVIN, resulting in increased levels of the antiapoptotic MCL1 via NFKB activation; these together have the potential to limit both the activity and level of active caspase 3 in the pregnant uterus as term approaches. We propose that modification of these antiapoptotic signaling partners allows the pregnant uterus to escape the apoptotic action of elevated active caspase 3 levels but also functions to limit the levels of active uterine caspase 3 near term.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 85 • No. 2