Immunohistochemical Localization and Function of INF2 in the Placenta for Birth Timing
Holloway, Emily M.
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Preterm birth (PTB) in humans is classified as birth before 37 weeks of gestation. PTB is a serious health problem as it is the leading cause of death among infants. Overall, PTB is a poorly understood condition that involves a complex interplay between social, environmental, and genetic factors. A recent genome wide association study preformed on term and preterm fetal genomes revealed a single nucleotide polymorphism (rs7153053) located 5.4 kb upstream of the inverted formin-2 (JNF2) gene, which is significantly and reproducibly associated with PTB. While INF2 has been linked with various kidney diseases, it is now being considered as a novel gene involved in birth timing. This study sought to determine how the loss of INF2 affects gestational length, litter size, and birth weight as well as its embryonic and placental expression using a mouse model. Functional deletion of INF2 resulted in significantly delayed birth timing, although it had no significant effect on either litter size or live birth weight. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that INF2 is expressed in wild type murine placentas. Moreover, INF2 is localized to placental trophoblast cells especially near maternal blood vessels in the labyrinth region of the placenta. These preliminary findings suggest a functional role for INF2 in placental formation and more broadly in birth timing.