Transcriptome and proteome dynamics of cervical remodeling in the mouse during pregnancy

Shanmugasundaram Nallasamy, Hector H. Palacios, Rohit Setlem, Mariano Colon Caraballo, Kelvin Li, Edward Cao, Mahalakshmi Shankaran, Marc Hellerstein, Mala Mahendroo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


During gestation, the female reproductive tract must maintain pregnancy while concurrently preparing for parturition. Here, we explore the transitions in gene expression and protein turnover (fractional synthesis rates [FSR]) by which the cervix implements a transition from rigid to compliant. Shifts in gene transcription to achieve immune tolerance and alter epithelial cell programs begin in early pregnancy. Subsequently, in mid-to-late pregnancy transcriptional programs emerge that promote structural reorganization of the extracellular matrix (ECM). Stable isotope labeling revealed a striking slowdown of overall FSRs across the proteome on gestation day 6 that reverses in mid-to-late pregnancy. An exception was soluble fibrillar collagens and proteins of collagen assembly, which exhibit high turnover in nonpregnant cervix compared with other tissues and FSRs that continue throughout pregnancy. This finding provides a mechanism to explain how cross-linked collagen is replaced by newly synthesized, less cross-linked collagens, which allows increased tissue compliance during parturition. The rapid transition requires a reservoir of newly synthesized, less cross-linked collagens, which is assured by the high FSR of soluble collagens in the cervix. These findings suggest a previously unrecognized form of "metabolic flexibility"for ECM in the cervix that underlies rapid transformation in compliance to allow parturition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1257-1271
Number of pages15
JournalBiology of reproduction
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • cervical remodeling
  • collagen
  • extracellular matrix
  • pregnancy
  • protein turnover
  • proteomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine


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