Cloning and sequencing of a cDNA amplified by RNA fingerprinting at the implantation site of pregnant rats revealed 80% similarity with Hβ58, previously shown to be essential for formation of the chorioallantoic placenta in the mouse. Hβ58 mRNA was detected in the endometrium of hormonally sensitized rats stimulated to undergo decidualization and in the contralateral uterine horns lacking a decidual stimulus, indicating that uterine expression of Hβ58 mRNA did not require decidualization or the presence of a blastocyst. Immunodetection in the early postimplantation uterus (Days 6–8 of pregnancy) showed Hβ58 localized in the luminal and glandular epithelia and some stromal cells. Decidual cells at Day 6 of pregnancy expressed Hβ58, and by Day 9 of pregnancy, the protein localized throughout the maternal decidua. The temporal and spatial distribution of Hβ58 in the developing chorioallantoic placenta was assessed at Days 10, 12, and 14 of pregnancy. Immunoreactive Hβ58 localized to erythroid cells within the developing fetal vasculature of the chorioallantoic primordia at Day 10 of pregnancy. By Day 12, the fetal vasculature extended into the placental labyrinth, and the erythroid stem cells continued to strongly express Hβ58. At Day 14 of pregnancy, immunoreactivity became evident in the trophoblast giant cells and syncytiotrophoblast of the fetal placenta. As the chorioallantoic placenta matured (Day 18), Hβ58 mRNA was 3.6-fold higher in the labyrinth compared with the junctional region. Stable cell lines (HRP/LRP) isolated from the rat labyrinthine placenta expressed Hβ58 mRNA and protein. The expression pattern of Hβ58 in maternal and fetal placental tissues and its early expression in fetal erythroid stem cells during formation and maturation of the chorioallantoic placenta suggest that Hβ58 plays key roles in the regulatory networks that control hematopoietic development and placentation.
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