Early gestational loss occurs in approximately 20% of all clinically recognized human pregnancies and is an important cause of morbidity. Either embryonic or maternal defects can cause loss, but a functioning and receptive uterine endometrium is crucial for embryo implantation. We report that the switch/sucrose nonfermentable (SWI/SNF) remodeling complex containing polybromo-1 (PBRM1) and Brahma-related gene 1 (BRG1) is essential for implantation of the embryonic blastocyst on the wall of the uterus in mice. Although preimplantation development is unaffected, conditional ablation of Pbrm1 in uterine stromal cells disrupts progesterone pathways and uterine receptivity. Heart and neural crest derivatives expressed 2 (Hand2) encodes a basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor required for embryo implantation. We identify an enhancer of the Hand2 gene in stromal cells that requires PBRM1 for epigenetic histone modifications/coactivator recruitment and looping with the promoter. In Pbrm1cKO mice, perturbation of chromatin assembly at the promoter and enhancer sites compromises Hand2 transcription, adversely affects fibroblast growth factor signaling pathways, prevents normal stromal-epithelial crosstalk, and disrupts embryo implantation. The mutant female mice are infertile and provide insight into potential causes of early pregnancy loss in humans.


Qiliang Xin, Iris Feng, Guoyun Yu, Jurrien Dean


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