SUMO2 modification of Aurora B and its impact on follicular development and atresia in the mouse ovary.
ABSTRACT: In the mammalian ovary, >99% follicles fail to ovulate due to apoptosis in granulosa cells. Aurora B, a core subunit enzyme of the chromosomal passenger complex, exerts a crucial role in microtubule‑kinetochore attachment, and has been reported to be modified by small ubiquitin‑related modifier (SUMO) proteins. However, the details of how Aurora B and its SUMOylation impact on follicular development have yet to be fully elucidated. The aim of the present study was to explore the roles, and possible molecular mechanism, of Aurora B and its SUMOylation in the granulosa cells of the mouse follicle. It was revealed that the protein level of Aurora B increased with follicular development and the growth of the granulosa cells. Aurora B impacted follicular development and atresia through mediating the p38 mitogen‑activated protein kinase and FasL/Fas pathways, and caused the downregulation of cyclin‑dependent kinase 4, proliferating cell nuclear antigen, Bcl‑2, and upregulation of caspases‑3 and ‑8 to modulate the viability of the granulosa cells. In addition, Aurora B undergoes modification by SUMO2, but not by SUMO1, in vivo and in vitro, and Lys‑207 is a major modification site. SUMOylation modulates follicular development through an increase in Aurora B localization in the nucleus, and by stabilizing the protein level of Aurora B and keeping the viability of the granulosa cells. Taken together, Aurora B and its SUMOylation are important for follicular development and atresia in the ovaries of mice.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The major function of the ovary is to produce oocytes for fertilisation. Oocytes mature in follicles surrounded by nurturing granulosa cells and all are enclosed by a basal lamina. During growth, granulosa cells replicate and a large fluid-filled cavity (the antrum) develops in the centre. Only follicles that have enlarged to over 10 mm can ovulate in cows. In mammals, the number of primordial follicles far exceeds the numbers that ever ovulate and atresia or regression of follicles is a mechanism to regulate the number of oocytes ovulated and to contribute to the timing of ovulation. To better understand the molecular basis of follicular atresia, we undertook transcriptome profiling of granulosa cells from healthy (n = 10) and atretic (n = 5) bovine follicles at early antral stages (< 5 mm). RESULTS: Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and hierarchical classification of the signal intensity plots for the arrays showed primary clustering into two groups, healthy and atretic. These analyses and size-frequency plots of coefficients of variation of signal intensities revealed that the healthy follicles were more heterogeneous. Examining the differentially-expressed genes the most significantly affected functions in atretic follicles were cell death, organ development, tissue development and embryonic development. The overall processes influenced by transcription factor gene TP53 were predicted to be activated, whereas those of MYC were inhibited on the basis of known interactions with the genes in our dataset. The top ranked canonical pathway contained signalling molecules common to various inflammatory/fibrotic pathways such as the transforming growth factor-? and tumour necrosis factor-? pathways. The two most significant networks also reflect this pattern of tissue remodelling/fibrosis gene expression. These networks also contain molecules which are present in the canonical pathways of hepatic fibrosis/hepatic stellate cell activation and transforming growth factor-? signalling and were up regulated. CONCLUSIONS: Small healthy antral follicles, which have a number of growth outcomes, exhibit greater variability in gene expression, particularly in genes associated with cell division and other growth-related functions. Atresia, on the other hand, not only involves cell death but clearly is an active process similar to wound healing.
Project description:In mammalian ovaries, follicular atresia occurs periodically and destroys almost all the follicles in the ovary. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) acts as the primary survival factor during follicular atresia by preventing apoptosis in granulosa cells. FoxO1 is a critical factor in promoting follicular atresia and granulosa cell apoptosis. FSH inhibits the induction of FoxO1. In this report, we investigated the role of FSH-FoxO1 pathway in mouse follicular atresia. FSH dampened stress-induced apoptosis and the expression of FoxO1 and pro-apoptosis genes in mouse granulosa cells (MGCs). In contrast, overexpression of FoxO1 inhibited the viability of MGCs and induced the expression of endogenous FoxO1. The signaling cascades involved in regulating FoxO1 activity upon FSH treatment were identified using FSH signaling antagonists. Blocking protein kinase A (PKA), phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) or protein kinase B (AKT) restored the upregulation of FoxO1 and apoptotic signals, which was suppressed by FSH. Moreover, inhibition of PKA or PI3K impaired FSH-induced AKT activity, but inactivation of PI3K or AKT had little effect on PKA activity in the presence of FSH. Correspondingly, constitutive activation of FoxO1 (all three AKT sites were replaced by alanines) also promoted MGC apoptosis despite FSH administration. Furthermore, both luciferase reporter assays and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that FoxO1 directly bound to a FoxO-recognized element site within the FoxO1 promoter and contributed to the regulation of FoxO1 expression in response to FSH. Taken together, we propose a novel model in which FSH downregulates FoxO1-dependent apoptosis in MGCs by coordinating the PKA-PI3K-AKT-FoxO1 axis and FoxO1-FoxO1 positive feedback.
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:Fas ligand (FasL) and its receptor Fas have been implicated in granulosa cell apoptosis during follicular atresia. Although interferon-gamma (IFN-?) is believed to be involved in the regulation Fas expression in differentiated granulosa or granulosa-luteal cells, the expression of this cytokine and its role in the regulation of the granulosa cell Fas/FasL system and apoptosis during follicular maturation have not been thoroughly investigated. In the present study, we have examined the presence of IFN-? in ovarian follicles at different stage of development by immunohistochemistry and related their relative intensities with follicular expression of Fas and FasL, and with differences in granulosa cell sensitivity to Fas activation by exogenous agonistic Anti-Fas monoclonal antibody (Fas mAb). Although IFN-? immunostaining was detectable in oocyte and granulosa cells in antral follicles, most intense immunoreactivity for the cytokine was observed in these cells of preantral follicles. Intense immunoreactivity for IFN-? was most evident in granulosa cells of atretic early antral follicles where increased Fas and FasL expression and apoptosis were also observed. Whereas low concentrations of IFN-? (10-100 U/mL) significantly increased Fas expression in undifferentiated granulosa cells (from preantral or very early antral follicles) in vitro, very higher concentrations (? 1,000 U/mL) were required to up-regulate of Fas in differentiated cells isolated from eCG-primed (antral) follicles. Addition of agonistic Fas mAb to cultures of granulosa cells at the two stages of differentiation and pretreated with IFN-? (100 U/mL) elicited morphological and biochemical apoptotic features which were more prominent in cells not previously exposed to the gonadotropin in vivo. These findings suggested that IFN-? is an important physiologic intra-ovarian regulator of follicular atresia and plays a pivotal role in regulation of expression of Fas receptor and subsequent apoptotic response in undifferentiated (or poorly differentiated) granulosa cells at an early (penultimate) stage of follicular development.
Project description:In a previous microarray study, we identified a subset of micro RNAS (miRNAs), which expression was distinctly higher in atretic than healthy follicles of cattle. In the present study, we investigated the involvement of those miRNAs in granulosa and theca cells during atresia. Reverse Transcription-quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-qPCR) confirmed that miR-21-5p/-3p, miR-150, miR-409a, miR-142-5p, miR-378, miR-222, miR-155, and miR-199a-5p were expressed at higher levels in atretic than healthy follicles (9-17 mm, classified based on steroidogenic capacity). All miRNAs except miR-21-3p and miR-378 were expressed at higher levels in theca than granulosa cells. The expression of 13 predicted miRNA targets was determined in follicular cells by RT-qPCR, revealing downregulation of HIF1A, ETS1, JAG1, VEGFA, and MSH2 in either or both cell types during atresia. Based on increases in miRNA levels simultaneous with decreases in target levels in follicular cells, several predicted miRNA target interactions were confirmed that are putatively involved in follicular atresia, namely miR-199a-5p/miR-155-HIF1A in granulosa cells, miR-155/miR-222-ETS1 in theca cells, miR-199a-5p-JAG1 in theca cells, miR-199a-5p/miR-150/miR-378-VEGFA in granulosa and theca cells, and miR-155-MSH2 in theca cells. These results offer novel insight on the involvement of miRNAs in follicle development by identifying a miRNA target network that is putatively involved in follicle atresia.
Project description:Follicular atresia is an inevitable degenerative process that occurs in mammalian ovarian follicles. The molecular events involved in atresia, particularly granulosa cell apoptosis, have long attracted researchers' attention. Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) is downregulated during follicular atresia in porcine ovaries and serves as an inhibitor of apoptosis in granulosa cells. In addition, transforming growth factor (TGF)-?signaling has been considered a central trigger in granulosa cell apoptosis. However, the link between TGF-? signaling and VEGFA is unknown. We proved that miR-361-5p is significantly upregulated during the atresia process and that it promotes GC apoptosis by directly targeting the VEGFA 3'UTR. In addition, we revealed that the miR-361-5p coding gene MIR361 was significantly downregulated by SMAD4, the central intracellular mediator of TGF-? signaling, that bound to the MIR361 promoter. In conclusion, our findings expanded what is known about VEGFA posttranscriptional regulation and revealed a complete SMAD4/miR-361-5p/VEGFA regulatory network in ovarian granulosa cell apoptosis. These data provide useful references for follicular atresia and ovarian physiological function studies.
Project description:The theca interna is a specialized stromal layer that envelops each growing ovarian follicle. It contains capillaries, fibroblasts, immune cells and the steroidogenic cells that synthesize androgens for conversion to estradiol by the neighboring granulosa cells. During reproductive life only a small number of follicles will grow to a sufficient size to ovulate, whereas the majority of follicles will undergo regression/atresia and phagocytosis by macrophages. To identify genes which are differentially regulated in the theca interna during follicular atresia, we undertook transcriptome profiling of the theca interna from healthy (n?=?10) and antral atretic (n?=?5) bovine follicles at early antral stages (<5 mm). Principal Component Analyses and hierarchical classification of the signal intensity plots for the arrays showed primary clustering into two groups, healthy and atretic. A total of 543 probe sets were differentially expressed between the atretic and healthy theca interna. Further analyses of these genes by Ingenuity Pathway Analysis and Gene Ontology Enrichment Analysis Toolkit software found most of the genes being expressed were related to cytokines, hormones and receptors as well as the cell cycle and DNA replication. Cell cycle genes which encode components of the replicating chromosome complex and mitotic spindle were down-regulated in atretic theca interna, whereas stress response and inflammation-related genes such as TP53, IKBKB and TGFB1 were up-regulated. In addition to cell cycle regulators, upstream regulators that were predicted to be inhibited included Retinoblastoma 1, E2 transcription factor 1, and hepatocyte growth factor. Our study suggests that during antral atresia of small follicles in the theca interna, arrest of cell cycle and DNA replication occurs rather than up- regulation of apoptosis-associated genes as occurs in granulosa cells.
Project description:In the poultry, only less than 5% primordial follicles in the ovary can develop into the prehierarchical follicles (PHFs) leading to progressive development, ovulation, and egg formation. This low rate of recruitment indicates a huge potential for improvement of the laying performance. A great reduction in egg production is caused by aging with extensive follicular atresia. In this study, age-related changes in the laying performance and ovarian status were compared between the peak-lay (D280) and aged (D580) chickens. Subsequently, a cross coculture of PHFs and granulosa cells (GCs) from D280 or D580 hens was adopted to reveal the mechanism of declined follicle development. Results showed that persistent endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in GCs of the aged hens was accompanied with intensified apoptosis. Bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) secreted by GCs of PHFs in D280 hens was capable of relieving ER stress and improving follicular dominance for selection in D580 hens. During this action, BMP4 reduced free calreticulin (CALR, an ER marker) content and attenuated cell apoptosis in PHFs of D580 hens via the PERK-CHOP-BCL2/caspase3 or CALR-Ca2+-BCL2-caspase12 pathway. Furthermore, BMP4 prevented follicular atresia by promoting production of steroid hormones to improve survival of GCs in PHFs from the aged hens. In conclusion, intensified ER stress and apoptosis occurred in GCs of PHFs in aged chickens, while BMP4 secreted by GCs was capable of improving follicular viability by alleviating ER stress to promote follicular development.
Project description:Most follicles in the mammalian ovary undergo atresia. Granulosa cell apoptosis is a hallmark of follicle atresia. Our previous study using a microRNA (miRNA) microarray showed that the let-7 microRNA family was differentially expressed during follicular atresia. However, whether the let-7 miRNA family members are related to porcine (Sus scrofa) ovary follicular apoptosis is unclear. In the current study, real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction showed that the expression levels of let-7 family members in follicles and granulosa cells were similar to our microarray data, in which miRNAs let-7a, let-7b, let-7c, and let-7i were significantly decreased in early atretic and progressively atretic porcine ovary follicles compared with healthy follicles, while let-7g was highly expressed during follicle atresia. Furthermore, flow cytometric analysis and Hoechst33342 staining demonstrated that let-7g increased the apoptotic rate of cultured granulosa cells. In addition, let-7 target genes were predicted and annotated by TargetScan, PicTar, gene ontology and Kyoto encyclopedia of genes and genomes pathways. Our data provide new insight into the association between the let-7 miRNA family in granulosa cell programmed death.
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.