Exosomes and their role in regulating embryo implantation

This research investigates how exosome cargo functionally regulate early-stage pregnancy of the embryo and endometrium. Exosome-mediated transfer of cargo (particularly mRNA and proteins) to either the blastocyst or adjacent endometrium, is hypothesized to directly modulate the implantation process. This project focuses on the importance of defining the precise contribution of endometrial and trophoblast cell-derived exosomes within the uterine cavity.

This function-focused and clinically-relevant intercellular signalling approach will provide unique information regarding endometrial and trophoblast influences on the preimplantation embryo, specifically mediated by exosomes. The outcomes of this research will establish how exosomes and their cargo regulate the extracellular uterine environment, specifically of the endometrium and trophectoderm, and elucidate cellular and molecular events associated with implantation and receptivity. This work will have significant implications in understanding exosome biology, the uterine microenvironment, fundamental causes of implantation failure, and promotion of healthy pregnancy.

This project will investigate the following questions:
(1) Determine how endometrial exosomes influence peri-implantation?
(2) Investigate trophectoderm exosomes under menstrual-cycle phase hormones in context of uterine receptivity.
(3) Delineate whether exosomes functionally act independently or synergistically with soluble growth factors/ hormones.
(4) Demonstrate the functional effects of endometrial exosome transfer to human trophoblast cells.