Dr. Ye’s Lab
Director: Xiaoqin Ye, MD, PhD
There are the current main focuses in our laboratory: molecular mechanism of embryo implantation, and, endocrine disruptors on puberty and early pregnancy.
Molecular mechanism of embryo implantation
Embryo implantation is a critical initial step for successful reproduction in most mammals. It refers to a process when a receptive uterus accepts a competent embryo to implant into the uterine endometrium. The uterine endometrium has three major cell types: the luminal epithelial cells, the glandular epithelial cells, and the stromal cells. During early pregnancy, the endometrium undergoes a series of precisely coordinated molecular and cellular events to transiently transform into a receptive state. Uterine receptivity refers to such a transient state in which the maternal endometrium is receptive for an embryo (blastocyst) to implant. The master controls of this transient state are the ovarian hormones progesterone and estrogen. Defective uterine receptivity is a contributing factor for female infertility in the general population and low pregnancy rate in patients undergoing in vitro fertilization. Although significant progress has been made during the past decades, the understanding of how the uterus transiently transforms into a receptive state remains far from complete.
The uterine luminal epithelium (LE) is the first layer of cells that an embryo communicates with for embryo implantation. It is considered essential for the receptive sensitivity of the uterus. One main focus of our research is on the molecular mechanisms of LE transformation during the establishment of uterine receptivity. We have been studying LE transformation in our unique Lpar3-deficient mouse model. LPA3 is the third G protein-coupled receptor for a small signaling lipid lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) and Lpar3 mRNA (encoding LPA3) is highly expressed in the LE before implantation initiation. Deletion of Lpar3 leads to delayed uterine receptivity and embryo crowding, which result in impaired fertility (Ye et al, Nature, 2005). Our goal is to gain more insight into the molecular mechanisms for the establishment of uterine receptivity, eventually help the diagnosis and treatment of infertility associated with defective uterine receptivity.
Grant support: National Institutes of Health R15HD066301 and R01HD065939.
Endocrine disruptors on puberty and early pregnancy
The other main focus of our research is on actions of endocrine disruptors on puberty and early pregnancy events leading to embryo implantation in mouse models. Since puberty and embryo implantation are hormonally controlled processes, they are susceptible to endocrine disruption. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with the endocrine system. They have been suspected as culprits for the younger ages of puberty onset in both boys and girls. The chemicals currently being investigated in our lab are zearalenone (a mycotoxin commonly found in livestock feed and human food) and genistein (a phytoestrogen in soy diets). Our goal is to understand the molecular mechanisms of how endocrine disruptors affect puberty and early pregnancy, thus help understand the observations from epidemiological studies and provide information for risk assessment of endocrine disruptors.
Selected lab publications may be found on Dr. Ye’s profile page.
- Honglu Diao, PhD | Visiting Scholar | email@example.com
- Shuo Xiao | PhD student in Toxicology | firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fei Zhao | PhD student in Toxicology | email@example.com
- Rong Li | PhD student in Toxicology | firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ahmed E. El Zowalaty | PhD student in Toxicology | email@example.com
- Michelle I. Uzor | Undergraduate student | firstname.lastname@example.org
- Joella Swanker | Undergraduate student | email@example.com
Former Lab Members
- Aimee Shin, currently pursuing a PharmD at the UGA College of Pharmacy
- Andrew Vargas, currently pursing an MD at the Medical Partnership, Georgia Regents University/The University of Georgia
- Patience A. Caulley, currently a graduate student