Project description:The identity of the gonads is determined by which fate, ovarian granulosa cell or testicular Sertoli cell, the bipotential somatic cell precursors choose to follow. In most vertebrates, the conserved transcription factor FOXL2 contributes to the fate of granulosa cells. To understand FOXL2 functions during gonad differentiation, we performed genome-wide analysis of FOXL2 chromatin occupancy in fetal ovaries and established a genetic mouse model that forces Foxl2 expression in the fetal testis. When FOXL2 was ectopically expressed in the somatic cell precursors in the fetal testis, FOXL2 was sufficient to repress Sertoli cell differentiation, ultimately resulting in partial testis-to-ovary sex-reversal. Combining genome-wide analysis of FOXL2 binding in the fetal ovary with transcriptomic analyses of our Foxl2 gain-of-function and previously published Foxl2 loss-of-function models, we identified potential pathways responsible for the feminizing action of FOXL2. Finally, comparison of FOXL2 genome-wide occupancy in the fetal ovary with testis-determining factor SOX9 genome-wide occupancy in the fetal testis revealed extensive overlaps, implying that antagonistic signals between FOXL2 and SOX9 occur at the chromatin level.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Three-spot wrasse, Halichoeres trimaculatus, is a marine protogynous hermaphrodite fish. Individuals mature either as initial phase (IP) males or females. Appropriate social cues induce the sex change from IP female to terminal phase (TP) male. However, the molecular mechanisms behind such a sex change remain largely unknown. Recently, the forkhead transcription factor 2 (Foxl2) was identified as an essential regulator of vertebrate ovarian development/function/phenotype. Inspired by this information, we characterized the expression patterns of Foxl2 in the protogynous wrasse assuming Foxl2 as the female-specific marker in this species. METHODS: First, we clonedFoxl2 cDNA from ovary by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) followed by rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE). Next, we analysed expression pattern of Foxl2 messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein in gonads of different sexual phases by real time quantitative PCR assay and flour fluorescence immunohistochemical method, respectively. Additionally, we studied the changes in Foxl2 expression pattern during aromatase inhibitor (AI)-induced sex change. RESULTS: The amino acid sequence (306 AA) of wrasse Foxl2, especially the forkhead domain, shows high identity with that of other reported teleost Foxl2s. Quite unexpectedly, no sexual dimorphism was observable between the testes and ovary in the expression pattern of Foxl2. In female phase fish, signals for Foxl2 protein were detectable in the granulosa cells, but not the theca cells. Transcript levels of Foxl2 in the testes of IP and TP males were identical to that in the ovaries of females and, further, Foxl2 protein was found to be localized in the interstitial cells including tubules and Leydig cells. Treatment with AI induced sex change in male gonads and an up-regulation was seen in the expression of Foxl2 in these gonads. CONCLUSIONS: Unlike in other vertebrates, including teleosts, Foxl2 may have a different role in the naturally sex changing fishes.
Project description:Forkhead box L2 (FOXL2) is a member of the forkhead nuclear factor 3 gene family and plays an essential role in ovarian growth and maturation in mammals. However, its potential effects and regulative mechanism in development of chicken ovarian prehierarchical follicles remain unexplored. In this study, the cooperative effects of FOXL2 with activin A, growth differentiation factor-9 (GDF9) and follistatin, three members of the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-?) superfamily that were previously suggested to exert a critical role in follicle development was investigated. We demonstrated herein, using in-situ hybridization, Northern blot and immunohistochemical analyses of oocytes and granulosa cells in various sizes of prehierarchical follicles that both FOXL2 transcripts and FOXL2 proteins are predominantly expressed in a highly similar expression pattern to that of GDF9 gene. In addition, the FOXL2 transcript was found at lower levels in theca cells in the absence of GDF9. Furthermore, culture of granulosa cells (GCs) from the prehierarchical follicles (6-8 mm) in conditioned medium revealed that in the pcDNA3.0-FOXL2 transfected GCs, there was a more dramatic increase in FSHR mRNA expression after treatment with activin A (10 ng/ml) or GDF9 (100 ng/ml) for 24 h which caused a stimulatory effect on the GC proliferation. In contrast, a significant decrease of FSHR mRNA was detected after treatment with follistatin (50 ng/ml) and resulted in an inhibitory effect on the cell proliferation. The results of this suggested that FOXL2 plays a bidirectional modulating role involved in the intracellular FSHR transcription and GC proliferation via an autocrine regulatory mechanism in a positive or negative manner through cooperation with activin A and/or GDF9, and follistatin in the hen follicle development. This cooperative action may be mediated by the examined Smad signals and simultaneously implicated in modulation of the StAR, CCND2, and CYP11A1 expression.
Project description:In this study, using a laying hen model, we determined the expression of FOXL2 and RSPO1 in different central and peripheral tissue and ovarian follicles at different stages of development. At the same time, mRNA expression of both genes in granulosa and theca cells harvested from follicles at different stages of folliculogenesis was also evaluated. Finally, we assessed the effect of leptin treatment on expression of FOXL2 and RSPO1 in in vitro cultured granulosa cells harvested from 1-5 mm to F3-F1 follicles. Our RT-qPCR results revealed that a comparatively higher expression of FOXL2 and RSPO1 was observed in ovary, hypothalamus, and pituitary. Abundant mRNA expression of FOXL2 was observed in small prehierarchical follicles (1-1.9 and 2-2.9 mm follicles; p < 0.05), whereas mRNA expression of RSPO1 showed an increasing trend in large hierarchical follicles (F5-F1), and its abundant expression was observed in post-ovulatory follicles. FOXL2 mRNA expression was stable in granulosa cells harvested from 3-5 mm to F4 follicles, and exhibited a significantly higher expression in large hierarchical follicles. Conversely, relatively low mRNA expression of FOXL2 was observed in theca cells. RSPO1 mRNA expression was relatively lower in granulosa cells; however, theca cells exhibited a significantly higher mRNA expression of RSPO1 in F4 to F1 follicles. In the next experiment, we treated the in vitro cultured granulosa cells with different concentrations (1, 10, 100, and 1000 ng/mL) of exogenous leptin. Compared to the control group, a significant increase in the expression of FOXL2 was observed in groups treated with 1, 10, and 100 ng/mL leptin, whereas expression of RSPO1 was increased in all leptin-treated groups. When treated with 100 ng/mL leptin, FOXL2 and RSPO1 expression was upregulated in cultured granulosa cells harvested from both large hierarchical (F3-F1) and small prehierarchical follicles (1-5 mm). Based on these findings and evidence from mainstream literature, we envisage that FOXL2 and RSPO1 genes (in connection with hypothalamic-hypophysis axis) and leptin (via modulation of FOXL2 and RSPO1 expression) might have significant physiological roles, at least in part, in modulating the ovarian mechanisms, such as follicle development, selection, and steroidogenesis in laying hens.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The Foxl2 transcription factor is required for ovarian function during follicular development. The mechanism of Foxl2 regulation of this process has not been elucidated. Our approach to begin to understand Foxl2 function is through the identification of Foxl2 regulated genes in the ovary. METHODS: Transiently transfected KK1 mouse granulosa cells were used to identify genes that are potentially regulated by Foxl2. KK1 cells were transfected in three groups (mock, activated, and repressed) and twenty-four hours later RNA was isolated and submitted for Affymetrix microarray analysis. Genesifter software was used to carry out analysis of microarray data. One identified target, the gonadotropin releasing hormone receptor (GnRHR) gene, was chosen for further study and validation of Foxl2 responsiveness. Transient transfection analyses were carried out to study the effect of Foxl2 over-expression on GnRHR gene promoter-luciferase fusion activity. Data generated was analyzed with GraphPad Prism software. RESULTS: Microarray analysis identified 996 genes of known function that are potentially regulated by Foxl2 in mouse KK1 granulosa cells. The steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) gene that has been identified as Foxl2 responsive by others was identified in this study also, thereby supporting the effectiveness of our strategy. The GnRHR gene was chosen for further study because it is known to be expressed in the ovary and the results of previous work has indicated that Foxl2 may regulate GnRHR gene expression. Cellular levels of Foxl2 were increased via transient co-transfection of KK1 cells using a Foxl2 expression vector and a GnRHR promoter-luciferase fusion reporter vector. The results of these analyses indicate that over-expression of Foxl2 resulted in a significant increase in GnRHR promoter activity. Therefore, these transfection data validate the microarray data which suggest that Foxl2 regulates GnRHR and demonstrate that Foxl2 acts as an activator of the GnRHR gene. CONCLUSIONS: Potential Foxl2 regulated ovarian genes have been identified through microarray analysis and comparison of these data to other microarray studies. The Foxl2 responsiveness of the GnRHR gene has been validated and provided evidence of Foxl2 transcriptional activation of the GnRHR gene promoter in the mouse ovary derived KK1 granulosa cell line.
Project description:Granulosa cell tumors are rare ovarian malignancies. Their characteristics include unpredictable indolent growth with malignant potential and late recurrence. Approximately 95% are of adult type. Recent molecular studies have characterized the FOXL2 402C > G mutation in adult granulosa cell tumor. Our previous case report showed that unique FOXL2 402C > G mutation and defective DNA mismatch repair system are associated with the development of adult granulosa cell tumor.In this study, the DNA sequences of four genes, MSH2, MLH1, MSH6, and PMS2, in the DNA mismatch repair system were determined via direct sequencing to elucidate the exact mechanism for the development of this granulosa cell tumor. The results showed that two missense germline mutations, T485K and N775L, inactivate the PMS2 gene.The results of this case study indicated that although FOXL2 402C > G mutation determines the development of granulosa cell tumor, PMS2 mutation may be the initial driver of carcinogenesis. Immunohistochemistry-based tumor testing for mismatch repair gene expression may be necessary for granulosa cell tumors to determine their malignant potential or if they are part of Lynch syndrome.
Project description:During negative energy balance, the concentration of different fatty acids, especially of oleic acid (OA) increases in the follicular fluid of cattle. Previously, we showed that OA induced morphological, physiological and molecular changes in cultured bovine granulosa cells. In our present study we analyzed effects of OA on the expression of markers for granulosa and Sertoli cell identity, FOXL2 and SOX9, respectively, in addition to effects on the FOXL2 regulated genes ESR2, FST, PTGS2 and PPARG. The results showed that OA down-regulated FOXL2, ESR2, FST and PPARG but up-regulated PTGS2 and SOX9. From these data we conclude that OA can compromise granulosa cell functionality and may initiate trans-differentiation processes in bovine granulosa cells. This novel mechanism may be causally involved in postpartum fertility problems of lactating dairy cows.
Project description:Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) and forkhead box L2 (FOXL2) are two pivotal genes expressed in human granulosa cells (hGCs) where both genes share similar inhibitory functions on activation and follicular growth in order to preserve the ovarian follicle reserve. Furthermore, AMH and FOXL2 contribute to inhibit steroidogenesis, decreasing or preventing the activation of gonadotrophin-dependent aromatase CYP19A1 cytochrome P450 family 19 subfamily A member 1 (CYP19A1). The purpose of this study is to evaluate the role of AMH in regulating the expression of FOXL2.Primary cultures of hGCs were treated with increasing concentrations of recombinant human AMH (rhAMH; range 10-100 ng/ml) for 3 h. Negative controls were performed using corresponding amounts of AMH vehicle. Total RNA or proteins were purified and quantified by spectrophotometry. FOXL2 and CYP19A1 gene expression, normalized by reference gene ribosomal protein S7 (RpS7), was evaluated by RT-qPCR. Each reaction was repeated in triplicate. Statistical analysis was performed. Extracted proteins were analyzed by immunoblot using anti-FOXL2 and anti-?-actin as primary antibodies.rhAMH treatments tested did not modulate the basal expression of aromatase CYP19A1 gene. rhAMH (50 ng/ml) was able to increase FOXL2 gene expression and its intracellular content.This study demonstrated the existence of an AMH-FOXL2 relationship in hGCs. AMH is capable of increasing both gene and protein expression of FOXL2. Because FOXL2 induces AMH transcription, these ovarian factors could be finely regulated by a positive feedback loop mechanism to preserve the ovarian follicle reserve.
Project description:The identity of the gonads is determined by which fate, ovarian granulosa cell or testicular Sertoli cell, the bipotential somatic cell precursors choose to follow. In most vertebrates, the fate of granulosa cells is controlled by a conserved regulator FOXL2. To understand how FOXL2 elicits its fate-determining action, we performed genome-wide analysis of FOXL2 chromatin occupancy in fetal ovaries. Combining genome-wide analysis of FOXL2 binding in the fetal ovary with transcriptomic analyses of Foxl2 gain-of-function and Foxl2 loss-of-function models, we identified potential pathways responsible for the feminizing action of FOXL2. Finally, comparison of FOXL2 genome-wide occupancy in the fetal ovary with testis-determining factor SOX9 genome-wide occupancy in the fetal testis revealed extensive overlaps, implying that antagonistic signals between FOXL2 and SOX9 occur at the chromatin level. Overall design: ChIP-seq for FOXL2 and input on chromatin from pools of mouse CD1 fetal ovaries (E14.5)
Project description:FOXL2 is expressed in granulosa cells (GC) of small and medium ovarian follicles, functions as a repressor of the human steroidogenic acute regulatory gene, a marker of a GC differentiation, and its mutation is associated with premature ovarian failure (POF) in women with blepharophimosis-ptosis-epicanthus inversus syndrome (BPES), type I. We now report that FOXL2 also represses the transcription of aromatase, P450scc, and cyclin D2, three other key genes involved in GC proliferation, differentiation, and steroidogenesis, and that a FOXL2 mutation found in patients with BPES type I, also fails to repress aromatase transcription, further supporting a role for FOXL2 in follicle maturation.