Oocyte-specific deletion of furin leads to female infertility by causing early secondary follicle arrest in mice.
ABSTRACT: The process of follicular development involves communications between oocyte and surrounding granulosa cells. FURIN is a member of the family of proprotein convertases that is involved in the activation of a large number of zymogens and proproteins by cleavage at its recognition motif. To investigate the functions of FURIN in female fertility, furinflox/flox (furfl/fl) mice were crossed with Zp3-Cre mice and Gdf9-Cre, respectively, to achieve oocyte-specific disruption of FURIN. Here we report for the first time that FURIN is dispensable for primordial follicle maintenance and activation but important for early secondary follicular development, as ablation of FURIN in oocytes caused failure of follicle development beyond the type 4 and/or 5a follicles in mutant mice, resulting in increased number of early secondary follicles and the severely decreased number of mature follicles, thus anovulation and infertility. We also found that the developmental arrest of early secondary follicles might be rooted in the loss of the mature form of ADAMTS1 (85-kDa prodomain truncated) and compromised proliferation of granulosa cells in mutant mice. Taken together, our data highlight the importance of FURIN in follicle development beyond the early secondary follicle stage and indicate that compromised FURIN function leads to follicular dysplasia and female infertility in mice.
Project description:Ovarian aging is closely tied to the decline in ovarian follicular reserve and oocyte quality. During the prolonged reproductive lifespan of the female, granulosa cells connected with oocytes play critical roles in maintaining follicle reservoir, oocyte growth and follicular development. We tested whether double-strand breaks (DSBs) and repair in granulosa cells within the follicular reservoir are associated with ovarian aging.Ovaries were sectioned and processed for epi-fluorescence microscopy, confocal microscopy, and immunohistochemistry. DNA damage was revealed by immunstaining of ?H2AX foci and telomere damage by ?H2AX foci co-localized with telomere associated protein TRF2. DNA repair was indicated by BRCA1 immunofluorescence.DSBs in granulosa cells increase and DSB repair ability, characterized by BRCA1 foci, decreases with advancing age. ?H2AX foci increase in primordial, primary and secondary follicles with advancing age. Likewise, telomere damage increases with advancing age. In contrast, BRCA1 foci in granulosa cells of primordial, primary and secondary follicles decrease with monkey age. BRCA1 positive foci in the oocyte nuclei also decline with maternal age.Increased DSBs and reduced DNA repair in granulosa cells may contribute to ovarian aging. Discovery of therapeutics that targets these pathways might help maintain follicle reserve and postpone ovarian dysfunction with age.
Project description:Targeted disruption of the inhibin alpha gene (Inha(-)(/)(-)) in mice results in an ovarian phenotype of granulosa cell tumors that renders the animals infertile. Little is known about the reproductive defects prior to tumor development. Here, we report novel data on early follicle dynamics in Inha(-)(/)(-) mice, which demonstrate that inhibin alpha has important consequences upon follicle development. Morphological changes in both germ and somatic cells were evident in postnatal day 12 ovaries, with Inha(-/-) mice exhibiting numerous multilayered follicles that were far more advanced than those observed in age-matched controls. These changes were accompanied by alterations in follicle dynamics such that Inha(-/-) ovaries had fewer follicles in the resting pool and more committed in the growth phase. Absence of inhibin alpha resulted in advanced follicular maturation as marked by premature loss of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) in secondary follicles. Additionally, gene expression analysis revealed changes in factors known to be vital for oocyte and follicle development. Together, these data provide key evidence to suggest that regulation of the inhibin/activin system is essential for early folliculogenesis in the prepubertal mouse ovary.
Project description:C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) encoded by the NPPC (Natriuretic Peptide Precursor C) gene expressed in ovarian granulosa cells inhibits oocyte maturation by activating the natriuretic peptide receptor (NPR)B (NPRB) in cumulus cells. RT-PCR analyses indicated increased NPPC and NPRB expression during ovarian development and follicle growth, associated with increases in ovarian CNP peptides in mice. In cultured somatic cells from infantile ovaries and granulosa cells from prepubertal animals, treatment with CNP stimulated cGMP production. Also, treatment of cultured preantral follicles with CNP stimulated follicle growth whereas treatment of cultured ovarian explants from infantile mice with CNP, similar to FSH, increased ovarian weight gain that was associated with the development of primary and early secondary follicles to the late secondary stage. Of interest, treatment with FSH increased levels of NPPC, but not NPRB, transcripts in ovarian explants. In vivo studies further indicated that daily injections of infantile mice with CNP for 4 d promoted ovarian growth, allowing successful ovulation induction by gonadotropins. In prepubertal mice, CNP treatment alone also promoted early antral follicle growth to the preovulatory stage, leading to efficient ovulation induction by LH/human chorionic gonadotropin. Mature oocytes retrieved after CNP treatment could be fertilized in vitro and developed into blastocysts, allowing the delivery of viable offspring. Thus, CNP secreted by growing follicles is capable of stimulating preantral and antral follicle growth. In place of FSH, CNP treatment could provide an alternative therapy for female infertility.
Project description:Although it is well established that both follicular assembly and the initiation of follicle growth in the mammalian ovary occur independently of pituitary hormone support, the factors controlling these processes remain poorly understood. We now report that neurotrophins (NTs) signaling via TrkB receptors are required for the growth of newly formed follicles. Both neurotrophin-4/5 (NT-4) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), the preferred TrkB ligands, are expressed in the infantile mouse ovary. Initially, they are present in oocytes, but this site of expression switches to granulosa cells after the newly assembled primordial follicles develop into growing primary follicles. Full-length kinase domain-containing TrkB receptors are expressed at low and seemingly unchanging levels in the oocytes and granulosa cells of both primordial and growing follicles. In contrast, a truncated TrkB isoform lacking the intracellular domain of the receptor is selectively expressed in oocytes, where it is targeted to the cell membrane as primary follicles initiate growth. Using gene-targeted mice lacking all TrkB isoforms, we show that the ovaries of these mice or those lacking both NT-4 and BDNF suffer a stage-selective deficiency in early follicular development that compromises the ability of follicles to grow beyond the primary stage. Proliferation of granulosa cells-required for this transition-and expression of FSH receptors (FSHR), which reflects the degree of biochemical differentiation of growing follicles, are reduced in trkB-null mice. Ovaries from these animals grafted under the kidney capsule of wild-type mice fail to sustain follicular growth and show a striking loss of follicular organization, preceded by massive oocyte death. These results indicate that TrkB receptors are required for the early growth of ovarian follicles and that they exert this function by primarily supporting oocyte development as well as providing granulosa cells with a proliferative signal that requires oocyte-somatic cell bidirectional communication. The predominance of truncated TrkB receptors in oocytes and their developmental pattern of subcellular expression suggest that a significant number of NT-4/BDNF actions in the developing mammalian ovary are mediated by these receptors.
Project description:Follicular fluid within ovarian antral follicles contains numerous factors, which influence the development of a healthy oocyte including nucleic acids, steroids, proteins, and extracellular vesicles (EVs). Current evidence indicates that follicular EVs promote changes in cellular gene expression and support cumulus-oocyte complex expansion in vitro. In this study, we found EVs from different sized follicles differentially stimulate granulosa cell proliferation and this could be explained by both the differential contents associated, on or within the vesicles and by the preferential uptake of EVs dependent on follicle size from which they were isolated. Antibody array and inhibitor studies indicated that the Src, PI3K/Akt, and MAPK signaling pathways mediate the stimulatory effects of EVs on granulosa cell proliferation. This study demonstrates for the first time that EVs isolated from follicular fluid are capable of stimulating granulosa cell proliferation and that this stimulatory response is associated with the size of antral follicle from which the EVs originated. The study further also provides the first evidence that vesicles released by small antral follicles are preferentially taken up when compared to those isolated from large follicles, suggesting that vesicular surface proteins change during follicular maturation.
Project description:Folliculogenesis is a progressive and highly regulated process, which is essential to provide ova for later reproductive life, requires the bidirectional communication between the oocyte and granulosa cells. This physical connection-mediated communication conveys not only the signals from the oocyte to granulosa cells that regulate their proliferation but also metabolites from the granulosa cells to the oocyte for biosynthesis. However, the underlying mechanism of establishing this communication is largely unknown. Here, we report that oocyte geranylgeranyl diphosphate (GGPP), a metabolic intermediate involved in protein geranylgeranylation, is required to establish the oocyte-granulosa cell communication. GGPP and geranylgeranyl diphosphate synthase (Ggpps) levels in oocytes increased during early follicular development. The selective depletion of GGPP in mouse oocytes impaired the proliferation of granulosa cells, primary-secondary follicle transition and female fertility. Mechanistically, GGPP depletion inhibited Rho GTPase geranylgeranylation and its GTPase activity, which was responsible for the accumulation of cell junction proteins in the oocyte cytoplasm and the failure to maintain physical connection between oocyte and granulosa cells. GGPP ablation also blocked Rab27a geranylgeranylation, which might account for the impaired secretion of oocyte materials such as Gdf9. Moreover, GGPP administration restored the defects in oocyte-granulosa cell contact, granulosa cell proliferation and primary-secondary follicle transition in Ggpps depletion mice. Our study provides the evidence that GGPP-mediated protein geranylgeranylation contributes to the establishment of oocyte-granulosa cell communication and then regulates the primary-secondary follicle transition, a key phase of folliculogenesis essential for female reproductive function.
Project description:In mammals, oocytes develop inside the ovarian follicles; this process is strongly supported by the surrounding follicular environment consisting of cumulus, granulosa and theca cells, and follicular fluid. In the antral follicle, the final stages of oogenesis require large amounts of energy that is produced by follicular cells from substrates including glucose, amino acids and fatty acids (FAs). Since lipid metabolism plays an important role in acquiring oocyte developmental competence, the aim of this study was to investigate site-specificity of lipid metabolism in ovaries by comparing lipid profiles and expression of FA metabolism-related genes in different ovarian compartments. Using MALDI Mass Spectrometry Imaging, images of porcine ovary sections were reconstructed from lipid ion signals for the first time. Cluster analysis of ion spectra revealed differences in spatial distribution of lipid species among ovarian compartments, notably between the follicles and interstitial tissue. Inside the follicles analysis differentiated follicular fluid, granulosa, theca and the oocyte-cumulus complex. Moreover, by transcript quantification using real time PCR, we showed that expression of five key genes in FA metabolism significantly varied between somatic follicular cells (theca, granulosa and cumulus) and the oocyte. In conclusion, lipid metabolism differs between ovarian and follicular compartments.
Project description:Lipid metabolism in ovarian follicular cells supports the preparation of an enclosed oocyte to ovulation. We aimed to compare lipid composition of a dominant large follicle (LF) and subordinated small follicles (SFs) within the same ovaries. Mass spectrometry imaging displayed the differences in the distribution of several lipid features between the different follicles. Comparison of lipid fingerprints between LF and SF by Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionisation Time-Of-Flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry revealed that in the oocytes, only 8 out of 468 detected lipids (1.7%) significantly changed their abundance (p < 0.05, fold change > 2). In contrast, follicular fluid (FF), granulosa, theca and cumulus cells demonstrated 55.5%, 14.9%, 5.3% and 9.8% of significantly varied features between LF and SF, respectively. In total, 25.2% of differential lipids were identified and indicated potential changes in membrane and signaling lipids. Tremendous changes in FF lipid composition were likely due to the stage specific secretions from somatic follicular cells that was in line with the differences observed from FF extracellular vesicles and gene expression of candidate genes in granulosa and theca cells between LF and SF. In addition, lipid storage in granulosa and theca cells varied in relation to follicular size and atresia. Differences in follicular cells lipid profiles between LF and SF may probably reflect follicle atresia degree and/or accumulation of appropriate lipids for post-ovulation processes as formation of corpus luteum. In contrast, the enclosed oocyte seems to be protected during final follicular growth, likely due in part to significant lipid transformations in surrounding cumulus cells. Therefore, the enclosed oocyte could likely keep lipid building blocks and energy resources to support further maturation and early embryo development.
Project description:The BRE (brain and reproductive expression) gene, highly expressed in nervous and reproductive system organs, plays an important role in modulating DNA damage repair under stress response and pathological conditions. Folliculogenesis, a process that ovarian follicle develops into maturation, is closely associated with the interaction between somatic granulosa cell and oocyte. However, the regulatory role of BRE in follicular development remains undetermined. In this context, we found that BRE is normally expressed in the oocytes and granulosa cells from the primordial follicle stage. There was a reduction in follicles number of BRE mutant (BRE-/-) mice. It was attributed to increase the follicular atresia in ovaries, as a result of retarded follicular development. We established that cell proliferation was inhibited, while apoptosis was markedly increased in the granulosa cells in the absence of BRE. In addition, expressions of ?-H2AX (marker for showing DNA double-strand breaks) and DNA damage-relevant genes are both upregulated in BRE-/- mice. In sum, these results suggest that the absence of BRE, deficiency in DNA damage repair, causes increased apoptosis in granulosa cells, which in turn induces follicular atresia in BRE-/- mice.
Project description:Oestrogens are pivotal in ovarian follicular growth, development and function, with fundamental roles in steroidogenesis, nurturing the oocyte and ovulation. Infections with bacteria such as Escherichia coli cause infertility in mammals at least in part by perturbing ovarian follicle function, characterised by suppression of oestradiol production. Ovarian follicle granulosa cells produce oestradiol by aromatisation of androstenedione from the theca cells, under the regulation of gonadotrophins such as FSH. Many of the effects of E. coli are mediated by its surface molecule lipopolysaccharide (LPS) binding to the Toll-like receptor-4 (TLR4), CD14, MD-2 receptor complex on immune cells, but immune cells are not present inside ovarian follicles. The present study tested the hypothesis that granulosa cells express the TLR4 complex and LPS directly perturbs their secretion of oestradiol. Granulosa cells from recruited or dominant follicles are exposed to LPS in vivo and when they were cultured in the absence of immune cell contamination in vitro they produced less oestradiol when challenged with LPS, although theca cell androstenedione production was unchanged. The suppression of oestradiol production by LPS was associated with down-regulation of transcripts for aromatase in granulosa cells, and did not affect cell survival. Furthermore, these cells expressed TLR4, CD14 and MD-2 transcripts throughout the key stages of follicle growth and development. It appears that granulosa cells have an immune capability to detect bacterial infection, which perturbs follicle steroidogenesis, and this is a likely mechanism by which ovarian follicle growth and function is perturbed during bacterial infection.