Nuclear pore complex proteins mark the implantation window in human endometrium

Elisa Guffanti, Nupur Kittur, Z. Nilly Brodt, Alex J. Polotsky, Satu M. Kuokkanen, Debra S. Heller, Steven L. Young, Nanette Santoro, U. Thomas Meier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Nucleolar channel systems (NCSs) are membranous organelles appearing transiently in the epithelial cell nuclei of postovulatory human endometrium. Their characterization and use as markers for a healthy receptive endometrium have been limited because they are only identifiable by electron microscopy. Here we describe the light microscopic detection of NCSs using immunofluorescence. Specifically, the monoclonal nuclear pore complex antibody 414 shows that NCSs are present in about half of all human endometrial epithelial cells but not in any other cell type, tissue or species. Most nuclei contain only a single NCS of uniform 1 μm diameter indicating a tightly controlled organelle. The composition of NCSs is as unique as their structure; they contain only a subset each of the proteins of nuclear pore complexes, inner nuclear membrane, nuclear lamina and endoplasmic reticulum. Validation of our robust NCS detection method on 95 endometrial biopsies defines a 6-day window, days 19-24 (±1) of an idealized 28 day cycle, wherein NCSs occur. Therefore, NCSs precede and overlap with the implantation window and serve as potential markers of uterine receptivity. The immunodetection assay, combined with the hitherto underappreciated prevalence of NCSs, now enables simple screening and further molecular and functional dissection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2037-2045
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2008


  • Human reproduction
  • Nuclear envelope
  • Nuclear organelle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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