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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Biochemistry - Biophysics - Molecular Biology - Obstetrics - Physics

ADP-Ribosylation Factor 6 Expression and Activation Are Reduced in Myometrium in Complicated Pregnancies
Published: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Author: Venkateswarlu Kanamarlapudi et al.

by Venkateswarlu Kanamarlapudi, Sian E. Owens, Jon Lartey, Andrés López Bernal


ARF6 (ADP-ribosylation factor 6) small GTP binding protein plays critical roles in actin cytoskeleton rearrangements and membrane trafficking, including internalisation of G protein coupled receptors (GPCR). ARF6 operates by cycling between GDP-bound (inactive) and GTP-bound (active) forms and is a potential regulator of GPCR-mediated uterine activity during pregnancy and labour. ARF6 contains very low intrinsic GTP binding activity and depends on GEFs (guanine nucleotide exchange factors) such as CYTH3 (cytohesin 3) to bind GTP. ARF6 and CYTH3 were originally cloned from human placenta, but there is no information on their expression in other reproductive tissues.


The expression of ARF6, ARF1, and CYTH1-4 was investigated by measuring mRNA (using RT-PCR) and protein levels (using immunoblotting) in samples of myometrium obtained from non-pregnant women, and women with normal pregnancies, before or after the spontaneous onset of labour. We also analysed myometrial samples from women with spontaneous preterm labour and from women with complicated pregnancies requiring emergency preterm delivery. The GST)-effector pull down assay was used to study the presence of active ARF6 and ARF1 in all myometrial extracts.


ARF6, ARF1 and CYTH3 but not CYTH1, CYTH2 and CYTH4 were expressed in all samples and the levels did not change with pregnancy or labour. However, ARF6 and CYTH3 but not ARF1 levels were significantly reduced in complicated pregnancies. The alterations in the expression of ARF6 and its GEF in human myometrium indicate a potential involvement of this signalling system in modulating the response of myometrial smooth muscle in complicated pregnancies. The levels of ARF6-GTP or ARF1-GTP did not change with pregnancy or labour but ARF6-GTP levels were significantly decreased in women with severe complications of pregnancy.


We have demonstrated a functional ARF6 system in human myometrium and a correlation between ARF6 level and activity in uterine and abnormal pregnancy.