Msx1 (Hox-7.1) in the adult mouse uterus: Cellular interactions underlying regulation of expression

A. Pavlova, E. Boutin, G. Cunha, D. Sassoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


We report here that Msx1 (formerly Hox-7.1) is expressed at high levels in uterine epithelial cells of the non-pregnant adult. These cells undergo pronounced changes in morphology in response to embryo implantation and show a concomitant decrease in Msx1 levels. While Msx1 is restricted to the uterus in adulthood, we observe Msx1 expression throughout the entire perinatal Mullerian duct epithelium in the prospective uterus, cervix and vagina. Through analysis of tissue recombinants, the expression of Msx1 in the epithelium was shown to be dependent upon an interaction with the underlying mesenchyme of uterine origin. The capacity of uterine mesenchyme to support or induce Msx1 expression in Mullerian epithelium is correlated with mesenchymal expression of Wnt-5a. Whereas Msx1 expression in the epithelium results from interaction with uterine mesenchyme, Wnt-5a expression is an intrinsic property of the uterine mesenchyme and does not depend upon the epithelium. The observation that Msx1 is expressed in the adult uterine epithelium and that conversion of the presumptive vaginal epithelium to uterine epithelium can be elicited only during the first week of postnatal development when Msx1 expression is detected suggests that, in addition to regulating various aspects of uterine epithelial morphology and function (e.g. gestation), this homeobox-containing gene plays a role in maintaining the uterus in a morphogenic and developmentally responsive state prerequisite for its unique function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-345
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1994


  • Cell interactions
  • Expression
  • Gene expression
  • Homeobox
  • Mouse uterus
  • Msx1


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