Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO)-initiated tryptophan degradation in the placenta has been implicated in the prevention of the allogeneic fetus rejection [Munn, Zhou, Attwood, Bondarev, Conway, Marshall, Brown, and Mellor (1998) Science 281, 1191-1193]. To determine how IDO is associated with the development of the fetus and placenta, the time course of IDO expression (tryptophan-degrading activity, IDO protein and IDO mRNA) in the embryonic and extra-embryonic tissues as well as maternal tissues of mice was examined. A high tryptophan-degrading activity was detected in early concepti on days 6.5 and 7.5, whereas IDO protein and its mRNA were not expressed during early gestation, but appeared 2-3 days later, lasted for about 3 days and declined rapidly thereafter. The expression of IDO basically coincided with the formation of the placenta. On the contrary, the early tryptophan-degrading activity was due to gene expression of tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase (TDO), as shown by Northern and Western analysis. These findings indicate that IDO is transiently expressed in the placenta but that the expression does not last until birth, and that the IDO expression is preceded by expression of another tryptophan-degrading enzyme, TDO, in the maternal and/or embryonic tissues in early concepti.
- gene expression
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