The mouse decidua secretes many factors that act in a paracrine/autocrine manner to critically control uterine decidualization, neovascularization, and tissue remodeling that ensure proper establishment of pregnancy. The precise mechanisms that dictate intercellular communications among the uterine cells during early pregnancy remain unknown. We recently reported that conditional deletion of the gene encoding the hypoxia-inducible transcription factor 2 alpha (Hif2α) in mouse uterus led to infertility. Here, we report that HIF2α in mouse endometrial stromal cells (MESCs) acts via the cellular trafficking regulator RAB27b to control the secretion of extracellular vesicles (EVs) during decidualization. We also found that Hif2α-regulated pathways influence the biogenesis of EVs. Proteomic analysis of EVs secreted by decidualizing MESCs revealed that they harbor a wide variety of protein cargoes whose composition changed as the decidualization process progressed. The EVs enhanced the differentiation capacity of MESCs and the production of angiogenic factors by these cells. We also established that matrix metalloproteinase-2, a prominent EV cargo protein, modulates uterine remodeling during decidualization. Collectively, our results support the concept that EVs are central to the mechanisms by which the decidual cells communicate with each other and other cell types within the uterus to facilitate successful establishment of pregnancy.
- hypoxia-inducible transcription factor
- endometrial stromal cells
- extracellular vesicles
ASJC Scopus subject areas