Interferon-tau Polymorphisms and Their Potential Functions in Ruminants.

Alan D Ealy, Kathleen A Pennington, Teresa M Rodina


Ealy AD, Pennington KA, Rodina TM. Interferon-tau Polymorphisms and Their Potential Functions in Ruminants. ARBS Annu Rev Biomed Sci 2006;8:9-18. In ruminants, the establishment and maintenance of pregnancy requires production of a Type I interferon, termed IFN- This protein is synthesized by the developing conceptus and interacts with the uterus to promote continued secretion of progesterone. Multiple genes encode IFN- and a majority of these genes are transcribed during early pregnancy. The proteins possess divergent biological activities, including the ability to prevent the corpus luteum from regressing at the end of a normal estrous cycle. In all likelihood multiple IFN-isoforms are produced during early pregnancy to ensure that sufficient quantities of bioactive IFN-are present to modulate uterine biology during early pregnancy. Although IFN-has evolved to serve as the pregnancy recognition hormone in ruminants, other Type I IFNs, such as IFN-and IFN- are capable of producing a uterine reponse similar to that of IFN- Hence, the polymorphic nature of IFN-genes appear to have generated new and potentially more active forms of the hormone, but the unique expression pattern for IFN-is likely the preeminent feature ensuring its use as the maternal recognition of pregnancy factor in ruminants.

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