Interferon regulatory factor 6 (IRF6) is expressed in the ovine uterus and functions as a transcriptional activator

Jo Ann G.W. Fleming, Gwonhwa Song, Youngsok Choi, Thomas E. Spencer, Fuller W. Bazer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Interferon tau (IFNT), the maternal recognition of pregnancy signal in sheep and other ruminants, is secreted by the conceptus and regulates the expression of a number of genes in a cell-specific manner within the uterus. The response of different endometrial cell types to IFNT appears to be specified by IFN regulatory factors (IRFs). IRF2, a potent repressor of gene transcription, is expressed only by luminal (LE) and superficial glandular epithelia (sGE), whereas IRF1 and IRF9, activators of gene transcription, are expressed only in GE and stromal cells of the uterus during early pregnancy. In the present study, IRF6 was found to be expressed in LE/sGE and middle GE of the ovine uterine endometrium as well as conceptus trophectoderm. IRF family members can regulate transcription via IFN-stimulated response elements (ISREs). Transient transfection analyses found that IRF6 enhanced basal activity of ISRE-containing promoters, but did not enhance IFNT stimulation of ISRE-containing promoters in variety of different cell types. Further, IRF6 did not cooperate with IRF1 or reduce IRF2 repression of ISRE-containing promoter activity. These results establish that IRF6 is a transcriptional activator that is preferentially expressed in the endometrial epithelia and conceptus trophectoderm. IRF6 is hypothesized to play critical roles in endometrial gene expression as well as in conceptus trophectoderm growth and differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-260
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Feb 27
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Dr. Ming-jer Tsai (Baylor College of Medicine) for the PRE2–TATA–LUC construct and Dr. Thomas R. Hansen (Colorado State University) for the ISG17–LUC construct. Financial support for these studies was obtained from National Institutes of Health R01 Grant HD32534.


  • Conceptus
  • Endometrium
  • Interferon regulatory factor
  • Transcriptional activator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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