Recent data from human and mouse studies strongly support an indispensable role for steroid receptor coactivator-2 (SRC-2)—a member of the p160/SRC family of coregulators—in progesterone-dependent endometrial stromal cell decidualization, an essential cellular transformation process that regulates invasion of the developing embryo into the maternal compartment. To identify the key progesterone-induced transcriptional changes that are dependent on SRC-2 and required for endometrial decidualization, we performed comparative genome-wide transcriptional profiling of endometrial tissue RNA from ovariectomized SRC-2flox/flox (SRC-2f/f [control]) and PRcre/ /SRC-2flox/flox (SRC-2d/d [SRC-2-depleted]) mice, acutely treated with vehicle or progesterone. Although data mining revealed that only a small subset of the total progesterone-dependent transcriptional changes is dependent on SRC-2 (∼13%), key genes previously reported to mediate progesterone-driven endometrial stromal cell decidualization are present within this subset. Along with providing a more detailed molecular portrait of the decidual transcriptional program governed by SRC-2, the degree of functional diversity of these progesterone mediators underscores the pleiotropic regulatory role of SRC-2 in this tissue. To showcase the utility of this powerful informational resource to uncover novel signaling paradigms, we stratified the total SRC-2-dependent subset of progesterone-induced transcriptional changes in terms of novel gene expression and identified transcription factor 23 (Tcf23), a basic-helix-loop-helix transcription factor, as a new progesterone-induced target gene that requires SRC-2 for full induction. Importantly, using primary human endometrial stromal cells in culture, we demonstrate that TCF23 function is essential for progesterone-dependent decidualization, providing crucial translational support for this transcription factor as a new decidual mediator of progesterone action.
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Vol. 90 • No. 4