Determining molecular mechanisms of human embryo implantation is an extremely challenging task due to the limitation of materials and significant differences underlying this process among mammalian species. Recently, L-selectin and its ligand carbohydrate have been proposed as a system that mediates initial adhesion of human blastocysts to the uterine epithelia. We have also identified trophinin as a unique apical cell adhesion molecule potentially involved in the initial adhesion of trophectoderm of the human blastocyst to endometrial surface epithelia. In the mouse, the binding between ErbB4 on the blastocyst and heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor on the endometrial surface enables the initial step of the blastocyst implantation. The evidence suggests that L-selectin and trophinin are included in human embryo implantation. This review summarizes findings relevant to the functions of L-selectin and trophinin in human embryo implantation, and proposes a model that reconciles these cell adhesion mechanisms.
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