Marie Cohen, PhD 
Department of Gynecology Obstetrics
Laboratoire d'Hormonologie
30 bd de la Cluse 
CH- 1211 Genève 14 
+41 22 372 43 81

IS GRP-78 a novel diagnostic and pronostic marker of trophoblastic diseases ? 

Trophoblastic cells (cells of the placenta) allow embryo implantation, maintenance of pregnancy and fetal growth thanks to their ability to invade uterine tissue. This invasion, in contrast to cancer cells, is regulated by a number of factors, thus limiting trophoblastic invasion both in time (the first trimester of pregnancy) and space (endometrium and proximal third of the myometrium). However a failure or an excess of trophoblastic invasion can lead to pathologies of pregnancy affecting the mother and the fetus.

For these reasons, we study the factors capable of regulating the physiological trophoblastic invasion during the early development of human placenta. We have discovered the involvement of a protein called GRP78 in the mechanisms of trophoblastic invasion. In addition, the amount and the presence of this protein on the membrane of invasive cells correlate with the degree of in vitro invasion of trophoblastic cells. Hence the idea to use the expression of this protein as marker of cellular invasion. To this end, we are currently developing a project in collaboration with the Maternity Hospital of Bordeaux, to demonstrate the diagnostic and prognostic potential of GRP78 (circulating, tissue and cellular) in trophoblastic disease.

Research in the field by the project leader

  • Cohen M, Wuillemin C, Irion O, Bischof P. Regulation of MMP-9 by p53 in first trimester cytotrophoblastic cells. Hum Reprod 2008, 23, 2273-81
  • Cohen M, Wuillemin C, Bischof P. Trophoblastic p53 is stabilised by a cis-trans isomerisation necessary for the formation of high molecular weight complexes involving the N-terminus part of p53. Biochimie 2008, 90, 855-862. 
  • Cohen M, Wuillemin C, Chai SY, Bischof P. Effects of ligands or substrate of insulin-regulated aminopeptidase (IRAP) on trophoblast invasion. J Peptide Sci 2008, 14, 883-887.
  • Li L, Cohen M, Sow MH, Wu JY, Branka N, Bischof P and Irminger-Finger I. Expression and function of BARD1 splice variants in human trophoblast. Int J Biochem Cell Biol 2007, 39, 1659-1672.
  • Cohen M, Bischof P. Factors regulating trophoblast invasion. Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation 2007, 64, 126-129.
  • Cohen M, Meisser A, Haenggeli L, Irminger-Finger I, Bischof P. Status of p53 in cytotophoblastic cells. Molecular Human Reproduction 2007, 13, 111-6.
  • Cohen M, Meisser A, Bischof P. Metalloproteinases and human placental invasiveness. Placenta 2006, 27, 783-93.
  • Cohen M, Meisser A, Haenggeli L, Bischof P. Involvement of MAPK pathway induced MMP-9 expression in human trophoblastic cells. Mol Hum Reprod?in TNF- 2006, 12, 225-32.
  • Meisser A, Cohen M, Bischof P. Concentrations of circulating gelatinases (Matrix Metalloproteinase-2 and -9) are dependent on the conditions of blood collection. Clinical chemistry 2005, 51, 274-6.