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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Growth differentiation factor-9 stimulates progesterone synthesis in granulosa cells via a prostaglandin E2/EP2 receptor pathway.

Growth differentiation factor-9 (GDF-9), an oocyte-secreted member of the transforming growth factor beta superfamily, progesterone receptor, cyclooxygenase 2 (Cox2; Ptgs2), and the EP2 prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) receptor (EP2; Ptgerep2) are required for fertility in female but not male mice. To define the interrelationship of these factors, we used a preovulatory granulosa cell culture system in which we added recombinant GDF-9, prostaglandins, prostaglandin receptor agonists, or cyclooxygenase inhibitors. GDF-9 stimulated Cox2 mRNA within 2 h, and PGE(2) within 6 h; however, progesterone was not increased until 12 h after addition of GDF-9. This suggested that Cox2 is a direct downstream target of GDF-9 but that progesterone synthesis required an intermediate. To determine whether prostaglandin synthesis was required for progesterone production, we analyzed the effects of PGE(2) and cyclooxygenase inhibitors on this process. PGE(2) can stimulate progesterone synthesis by itself, although less effectively than GDF-9 (3-fold vs. 6-fold increase over 24 h, respectively). Furthermore, indomethacin or NS-398, inhibitors of Cox2, block basal and GDF-9-stimulated progesterone synthesis. However, addition of PGE(2) to cultures containing both GDF-9 and NS-398 overrides the NS-398 block in progesterone synthesis. To further define the PGE(2)-dependent pathway, we show that butaprost, a specific EP2 agonist, stimulates progesterone synthesis and overrides the NS-398 block. In addition, GDF-9 stimulates EP2 mRNA synthesis by a prostaglandin- and progesterone-independent pathway. Thus, GDF-9 induces an EP2 signal transduction pathway which appears to be required for progesterone synthesis in cumulus granulosa cells. These studies further demonstrate the importance of oocyte-somatic cell interactions in female reproduction.[1]


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