Basigin is necessary for normal decidualization of human uterine stromal cells

Shuhong Yang, Jiajia Bi, Jenny Drnevich, Kailiang Li, Romana A Nowak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


STUDY QUESTION: Does basigin (BSG) regulate human endometrial stromal cell (HESC) decidualization in vitro? SUMMARY ANSWER: BSG regulates HESCs proliferation and decidualization. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Studies have shown that in the human endometrium, BSG expression is menstrual-cycle dependent and its expression was significantly lower in uterine endometrium during the luteal phase of women experiencing multiple implantation failures after IVF than in women with normal fertility. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: We utilized a telomerase-immortalized HESCs in an in vitro cell culture model system to investigate whether BSG regulates decidualization of stromal cells. Further, we used microarray analysis to identify changes in the gene expression profile of HESCs treated with BSG small interfering RNA (siRNA). All experiments were repeated at least three times. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: The effect of BSG knockdown (using siRNA) on HESC proliferation was determined by counting cell number and by tritiated thymidine incorporation assays. The effect of BSG on decidualization of HESCs was determined by RT-qPCR for the decidualization markers insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 1 (IGFBP1) and prolactin (PRL). Immunoblotting was used to determine the effect of BSG siRNA on the expression of MMP-2,3. Microarray analysis was used to identify BSG-regulated genes in HESCs at Day 6 of decidualization. Functional and pathway enrichment analyses were then carried out on the differentially expressed genes (DEGs). The STRING online database was used to analyze protein-protein interaction (PPI) between DEG-encoded proteins, and CytoScape software was used to visualize the interaction. MCODE and CytoHubba were used to construct functional modules and screen hub genes separately. Several BSG-regulated genes identified in the microarray analysis were confirmed by qPCR. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: Knockdown of BSG expression in cultured stromal cells by siRNA significantly (P < 0.05) inhibited HESC proliferation, disrupted cell decidualization and down-regulated MMP-2 and MMP-3 expression. Microarray analysis identified 721 genes that were down-regulated, and 484 genes up-regulated with P < 0.05 in BSG siRNA treated HESCs. GO term enrichment analysis showed that the DEGs were significantly enriched in cell communication, signaling transduction and regulation, response to stimulus, cell adhesion, anatomical structure morphogenesis, extracellular matrix organization, as well as other functional pathways. KEGG pathway analysis identified upregulated gene enriched in pathways such as the MAPK signaling pathway, colorectal cancer, melanoma and axon guidance. In contrast, downregulated genes were mainly enriched in pathways including ECM-receptor interaction, PI3K-Akt signaling pathway, pathways in cancer, antigen processing, type I diabetes mellitus and focal adhesion. The top 10 hub nodes were identified using 12 methods analyses. The hub genes that showed up in two methods were screened out. Among these genes, upregulated genes included EGFR, HSP90AA1, CCND1, PXN, PRKACB, MGAT4A, EVA1A, LGALS1, STC2, HSPA4; downregulated genes included WNT4/5, FOXO1, CDK1, PIK3R1, IGF1, JAK2, LAMB1, ITGAV, HGF, MXRA8, TMEM132A, UBE2C, QSOX1, ERBB2, GNB4, HSP90B1, LAMB2, LAMC1 and ITGA1. Hub genes and module genes involved in the top three modules of PPI analysis were analyzed through the string database. Analysis showed that hub and module genes were related mainly to the WNT signaling pathway, PI3K-AKT signaling pathway and pathways in cancer. LARGE SCALE DATA: The microarray data set generated in this study has been published online at LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: Most of the findings were obtained using an in vitro cell culture system that may not necessarily reflect in vivo functions. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: Our results demonstrate that BSG plays a vital role in decidualization and that downregulation of BSG in the uterine endometrium may be associated with infertility in women. The identified hub genes and pathways increase our understanding of the genetic etiology and molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of decidualization by BSG. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): This work was supported by the NIH U54 HD40093 (R.A.N.). The authors have no competing interests to declare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdeac229
Pages (from-to)2885-2898
Number of pages14
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number12
Early online dateOct 27 2022
StatePublished - Nov 24 2022


  • basigin
  • metalloproteinases
  • Wnt signaling
  • protein–protein interaction
  • molecular pathways
  • microarray
  • decidualization
  • proliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Reproductive Medicine


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