Retinoic acid enhances progesterone production via the cAMP/PKA signaling pathway in immature rat granulosa cells.
ABSTRACT: Retinoic acid (RA) is a metabolite of vitamin A and has important roles in development, differentiation, and reproduction. Activin has been shown to regulate the RA pathway and affect granulosa cell (GC) proliferation, suggesting that RA is important for early follicle development. However, little is known about the effects of RA on GC functions, particularly steroidogenesis, during the early follicle stage. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of all-trans-RA (atRA) on progesterone production in immature rat GCs cultured without gonadotropin. Our results demonstrated that atRA enhanced progesterone production by upregulating the levels of steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) and cytochrome P450scc (Cyp11a1) mRNAs, but not 3?-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase mRNA in immature rat GCs. Additionally, analysis of the mechanisms through which atRA upregulated StAR and Cyp11a1 mRNAs revealed that atRA enhanced intracellular cAMP accumulation and phosphorylation of cAMP response-element binding protein (CREB). In addition, H-89, an inhibitor of protein kinase A (PKA), abolished the stimulatory effects of atRA, indicating that atRA enhanced progesterone synthesis through cAMP/PKA signaling. In conclusion, our data demonstrated that atRA has a crucial role in progesterone synthesis in rat GCs during the early follicle stage.
Project description:Stathmin 1 (STMN1) is a biomarker in several types of neoplasms. It plays an important role in cell cycle progression, mitosis, signal transduction and cell migration. In ovaries, STMN1 is predominantly expressed in granulosa cells (GCs). However, little is known about the role of STMN1 in ovary. In this study, we demonstrated that STMN1 is overexpressed in GCs in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In mouse primary GCs, the overexpression of STMN1 stimulated progesterone production, whereas knockdown of STMN1 decreased progesterone production. We also found that STMN1 positively regulates the expression of Star (steroidogenic acute regulatory protein) and Cyp11a1 (cytochrome P450 family 11 subfamily A member 1). Promoter and ChIP assays indicated that STMN1 increased the transcriptional activity of Star and Cyp11a1 by binding to their promoter regions. The data suggest that STMN1 mediates the progesterone production by modulating the promoter activity of Star and Cyp11a1. Together, our findings provide novel insights into the molecular mechanisms of STMN1 in ovary GC steroidogenesis. A better understanding of this potential interaction between STMN1 and Star in progesterone biosynthesis in GCs will facilitate the discovery of new therapeutic targets in PCOS.
Project description:CONTEXT:Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common cause of anovulation. A key feature of PCOS is arrest of follicles at the small- to medium-sized antral stage. OBJECTIVE AND DESIGN:To provide further insight into the mechanism of follicle arrest in PCOS, we profiled (i) gonadotropin receptors; (ii) characteristics of aberrant steroidogenesis; and (iii) expression of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) and its receptor in granulosa cells (GCs) from unstimulated, human small antral follicles (hSAFs) and from granulosa lutein cells (GLCs). SETTING:GCs from hSAFs were collected at the time of cryopreservation of ovarian tissue for fertility preservation and GLCs collected during oocyte aspiration before in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection. PARTICIPANTS:We collected hSAF GCs from 31 women (98 follicles): 10 with polycystic ovaries (PCO) and 21 without. GLCs were collected from 6 women with PCOS and 6 controls undergoing IVF. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:Expression of the following genes: LHCGR, FSHR, AR, INSR, HSD3B2, CYP11A1, CYP19, STAR, AMH, AMHR2, FST, INHBA, INHBB in GCs and GLCs were compared between women with PCO and controls. RESULTS:GCs in hSAFs from women with PCO showed higher expression of LHCGR in a subset (20%) of follicles. Expression of FSHR (P < 0.05), AR (P < 0.05), and CYP11A1 (P < 0.05) was lower, and expression of CYP19A1 (P < 0.05), STAR (P < 0.05), HSD3B2 (P = NS), and INHBA (P < 0.05) was higher in PCO GCs. Gene expression in GL cells differed between women with and without PCOS but also differed from that in GCs. CONCLUSIONS:Follicle arrest in PCO is characterized in GCs by differential regulation of key genes involved in follicle growth and function.
Project description:Lipid metabolism participates in regulating the functions of granulosa cells (GCs), which is important for follicular development. In this experiment, goose GCs from pre-hierarchical follicles and hierarchical follicles were selected to be the model for studying the putative regulatory role of lipid metabolism in apoptosis and steroidogenesis, through overexpression and interference with fatty acid synthase (FASN). When FASN was overexpressed, the lipid accumulation was increased in hierarchical GCs (hGCs) and it was increased in the two categorized GCs when FASN was interfered. In addition, the apoptosis of the two categorized GCs was increased when FASN was overexpressed, and their progesterone production was decreased when FASN was interfered. The results of qRT-PCR showed that, when FASN was overexpressed, the expression level of CYP11A1 was decreased in pre-hierarchical GCs (phGCs), while the expression levels of SCD1, DGAT2, APOB, and StAR were increased in hGCs. When FASN was interfered, the expression levels of CPT-1, DGAT2, and StAR were decreased whereas the expression level of CYP11A1 was increased in phGCs, and the expression levels of CPT-1, SCD1, and StAR were decreased in hGCs. These results not only identify the different effects of manipulated FASN expression on lipid metabolism of goose phGCs and hGCs but also demonstrate that FASN-mediated lipid metabolism plays an important role in regulating apoptosis and steroidogenesis of in vitro cultured goose GCs.
Project description:Ovarian follicle selection is an important process impacting the laying performance and fecundity of hens, and is regulated by follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) through binding to its receptor [follicle-stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR)]. In laying hens, the small yellow follicle (6-8?mm in diameter) with the highest expression of FSHR will be recruited into the preovulatory hierarchy during ovarian follicle development. The study of molecular mechanism of chicken follicle selection is helpful for the identification of genes underlying egg-laying traits in chicken and other poultry species. Herein, the transcriptomes of chicken small yellow follicles differing in the mRNA expression of FSHR were compared, and a total of 17,993 genes were identified in 3 pairs of small yellow follicles. The Wnt signaling pathway was significantly enriched in the follicles with the greatest fold change in FSHR expression. In this pathway, the expression level of Wnt4 mRNA was significantly upregulated with a log2(fold change) of 2.12. We further investigated the expression, function, and regulation of Wnt4 during chicken follicle selection and found that Wnt4 mRNA reached its peak in small yellow follicles; Wnt4 stimulated the proliferation of follicular granulosa cells (GCs), increased the expression of StAR and CYP11A1 mRNA in prehierarchical and hierarchical follicles, increased the expression of FSHR mRNA, and decreased the expression of anti-Müllerian hormone and OCLN mRNA. Treatment with FSH significantly increased Wnt4 expression in GCs. Moreover, Wnt4 facilitated the effects of FSH on the production of progesterone (P4) and the mRNA expression of steroidogenic enzyme genes in the GCs of hierarchical follicles, but inhibited the effects of FSH in the GCs of prehierarchical follicles. Collectively, these data suggest that Wnt4 plays an important role in chicken follicle selection by stimulating GC proliferation and steroidogenesis. This study provides a theoretical basis for improving the egg-laying performance of chicken and a reference for the elucidation of the molecular mechanism of follicular selection in mammals.
Project description:Estrogen synthesis is an important function of the mammalian ovary. Estrogen plays important roles in many biological processes, including follicular development, oocyte maturation and endometrial proliferation, and dysfunctions in estrogen synthesis contribute to the development of polycystic ovary syndrome and premature ovarian failure. Classical signaling cascades triggered by follicle-stimulating hormone induce estrogen synthesis via the upregulation of Cyp19a1 in granulosa cells (GCs). This study aimed to determine the effect of microRNA-132 (miR-132) on estradiol synthesis in GCs.Primary mouse GCs were collected from ovaries of 21-day-old immature ICR mice through follicle puncture. GCs were cultured and treated with the stable cyclic adenosine monophosphate analog 8-Br-cAMP or transfected with miR-132 mimics, Nurr1-specific small interfering RNA oligonucleotides and Flag-Nurr1 plasmids. Concentrations of estradiol and progesterone in culture medium were determined by an automated chemiluminescence-based assay. Quantitative real time PCR and western blot were performed to identify the effect of miR-132 on Cyp19a1, Cyp11a1 and an orphan nuclear receptor-Nurr1 expression in GCs. Direct suppression of Nurr1 via its 3'-untranslated region by miR-132 were further verified using luciferase reporter assays.The expression level of miR-132 in cultured mouse GCs was significantly elevated during 48 h of treatment with 8-Br-cAMP. The synthesis of estradiol increased after the overexpression of miR-132 in mouse GCs. The real-time PCR results demonstrated that miR-132 induced the expression of Cyp19a1 significantly. Nurr1, an orphan nuclear receptor that suppresses Cyp19a1 expression, was found to be a direct target of miR-132. Nurr1 was suppressed by miR-132, as indicated by a luciferase assay and Western blotting. The knockdown of Nurr1 primarily elevated the synthesis of estradiol and partially attenuated the miR-132-induced estradiol elevation, and the ectopic expression of Flag-Nurr1 abrogated the stimulatory effect of miR-132 on estradiol synthesis in mouse GCs.Our findings suggest that miR-132 is involved in the cAMP signaling pathway and promotes estradiol synthesis via the translational repression of Nurr1 in ovarian GCs.
Project description:Summer heat stress (HS) is a major contributing factor in low fertility in lactating dairy cows in hot environments. Heat stress inhibits ovarian follicular development leading to diminished reproductive efficiency of dairy cows during summer. Ovarian follicle development is a complex process. During follicle development, granulosa cells (GCs) replicate, secrete hormones, and support the growth of the oocyte. To obtain an overview of the effects of heat stress on GCs, digital gene expression profiling was employed to screen and identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs; false discovery rate (FDR)???0.001, fold change ?2) of cultured GCs during heat stress. A total of 1211 DEGs including 175 upregulated and 1036 downregulated ones were identified, of which DEGs can be classified into Gene Ontology (GO) categories and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways. The results suggested that heat stress triggers a dramatic and complex program of altered gene expression in GCs. We hypothesized that heat stress could induce the apoptosis and dysfunction of GCs. Real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used to evaluate the expression of steroidogenic genes (steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (Star), cytochrome P-450 (CYP11A1), CYP19A1, and steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1)) and apoptosis-related genes (caspase-3, BCL-2, and BAX). Radio immunoassay (RIA) was used to analyze the level of 17?-estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4). We also assessed the apoptosis of GCs by flow cytometry. Our data suggested that heat stress induced GC apoptosis through the BAX/BCL-2 pathway and reduced the steroidogenic gene messenger RNA (mRNA) expression and E2 synthesis. These results suggest that the decreased function of GCs may cause ovarian dysfunction and offer an improved understanding of the molecular mechanism responsible for the low fertility in cattle in summer.
Project description:Granulosa cells (GCs) are the key components of ovarian follicles for regulating oocyte maturation. Previous established GC lines have allowed prolonged proliferation, but lost some physiological features owing to long-term immortalization. This study was to establish an induced immortal porcine GC line with reversible proliferation status by the tetracycline inducible (Tet-on) 3G system. Our conditional immortal porcine GCs (CIPGCs) line steadily propagated for at least six months and displayed primary GC morphology when cultured in the presence of 50 ng/mL doxycycline [Dox (+)]. Upon Dox withdrawal [Dox (-)], Large T-antigen expression, reflected by mCherry fluorescence, gradually became undetectable within 48 h, accompanied by less proliferation and size increase. The levels of estradiol and progesterone, and the expression of genes associated with steroid production, such as CYP11A1 (cytochrome P450 family 11), 3?-HSD (3?-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase), StAR (steroidogenic acute regulatory protein), and CYP19A1 (cytochrome P450 family 19 subfamily a member 1), were all significantly higher in the Dox (-) group than Dox (+) group. The CIPGCs could switch into a proliferative state upon Dox induction. Interestingly, the expression of StAR and CYP19A1 in the CIPGCs (-Dox) was significantly increased by adding porcine follicular fluid (PFF) to mimic an ovary follicle environment. Moreover, PFF priming the CIPGCs in Dox (-) group resulted in similar estradiol production as that of primary GC, and enabled this cell line to respond to gonadotrophins in estradiol production. Collectively, we have established an inducible immortal porcine GC line, which offers a unique and valuable model for future research on the regulation of ovarian functions.
Project description:Ovarian granulosa cells (GCs) are a critical approach to investigate the mechanism of gene regulation during folliculogenesis. The objective of this study was to investigate the role of MT2 in bovine GCs, and assess whether MT2 silencing affected GCs response to melatonin. We found that MT2 silencing significantly decreased the secretion of progesterone and estradiol, and increased the concentration of inhibin B and activin B. To further reveal the regulatory mechanism of MT2 silencing on steroids synthesis, it was found that the expression of CYP19A1 and CYP11A1 enzymes (steroid hormone synthesis) were down-regulated, while genes related to hormonal synthesis (StAR, RUNX2, INHA and INHBB) were up-regulated without affecting the expression of INHBA, suggesting that MT2 silencing may regulate hormone abundance. Furthermore, MT2 silencing significantly increased the expression of TGFBR3 and BMP6, and decreased the expression of LHR and DNMT1A without significant difference in the expression of FSHR and EGFR. In addition, MT2 silencing didn't affect the effect of melatonin on increasing the expression of DNMT1A, EGFR, INHBA and LHR, and progesterone level, or decreasing INHA, TGFBR3 and StAR expression, and production of inhibin B. Moreover, MT2 silencing could disrupt the role of melatonin in decreasing the FSHR, INHBB and BMP6 expression, and activin B secretion. In conclusion, these results reveal that melatonin and MT2 are essential regulator of bovine GCs function by modulating reproduction-related genes expression, hormones secretion and other regulators of folliculogenesis.
Project description:Progesterone secretion by the steroidogenic cells of the corpus luteum (CL) is essential for reproduction. Progesterone synthesis is under the control of LH, but the exact mechanism of this regulation is unknown. It is established that LH stimulates the LH receptor/choriogonadotropin receptor, a G-protein coupled receptor, to increase cAMP and activate cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA). In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that cAMP/PKA-dependent regulation of the Wnt pathway components glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3beta and beta-catenin contributes to LH-dependent steroidogenesis in luteal cells. We observed that LH via a cAMP/PKA-dependent mechanism stimulated the phosphorylation of GSK3beta at N-terminal Ser9 causing its inactivation and resulted in the accumulation of beta-catenin. Overexpression of N-terminal truncated beta-catenin (Delta90 beta-catenin), which lacks the phosphorylation sites responsible for its destruction, significantly augmented LH-stimulated progesterone secretion. In contrast, overexpression of a constitutively active mutant of GSK3beta (GSK-S9A) reduced beta-catenin levels and inhibited LH-stimulated steroidogenesis. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays demonstrated the association of beta-catenin with the proximal promoter of the StAR gene, a gene that expresses the steroidogenic acute regulatory protein, which is a cholesterol transport protein that controls a rate-limiting step in steroidogenesis. Collectively these data suggest that cAMP/PKA regulation of GSK3beta/beta-catenin signaling may contribute to the acute increase in progesterone production in response to LH.
Project description:ERK1/2 is known to be involved in hormone-stimulated steroid synthesis, but its exact roles and the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. Both ERK1/2 phosphorylation and steroidogenesis may be triggered by cAMP/cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA)-dependent and-independent mechanisms; however, ERK1/2 activation by cAMP results in a maximal steroidogenic rate, whereas canonical activation by epidermal growth factor (EGF) does not. We demonstrate herein by Western blot analysis and confocal studies that temporal mitochondrial ERK1/2 activation is obligatory for PKA-mediated steroidogenesis in the Leydig-transformed MA-10 cell line. PKA activity leads to the phosphorylation of a constitutive mitochondrial MEK1/2 pool with a lower effect in cytosolic MEKs, while EGF allows predominant cytosolic MEK activation and nuclear pERK1/2 localization. These results would explain why PKA favors a more durable ERK1/2 activation in mitochondria than does EGF. By means of ex vivo experiments, we showed that mitochondrial maximal steroidogenesis occurred as a result of the mutual action of steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) protein -a key regulatory component in steroid biosynthesis-, active ERK1/2 and PKA. Our results indicate that there is an interaction between mitochondrial StAR and ERK1/2, involving a D domain with sequential basic-hydrophobic motifs similar to ERK substrates. As a result of this binding and only in the presence of cholesterol, ERK1/2 phosphorylates StAR at Ser(232). Directed mutagenesis of Ser(232) to a non-phosphorylable amino acid such as Ala (StAR S232A) inhibited in vitro StAR phosphorylation by active ERK1/2. Transient transfection of MA-10 cells with StAR S232A markedly reduced the yield of progesterone production. In summary, here we show that StAR is a novel substrate of ERK1/2, and that mitochondrial ERK1/2 is part of a multimeric protein kinase complex that regulates cholesterol transport. The role of MAPKs in mitochondrial function is underlined.