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Genetic dissection of epidermal growth factor receptor signaling during luteinizing hormone-induced oocyte maturation.

  • Author(s): Hsieh, Minnie;
  • Thao, Kao;
  • Conti, Marco
  • et al.

Recent evidence that luteinizing hormone (LH) stimulation of ovulatory follicles causes transactivation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has provided insights into the mechanisms of ovulation. However, the complete array of signals that promote oocyte reentry into the meiotic cell cycle in the follicle are still incompletely understood. To elucidate the signaling downstream of EGFR involved in oocyte maturation, we have investigated the LH responses in granulosa cells with targeted ablation of EGFR. Oocyte maturation and ovulation is disrupted when EGFR expression is progressively reduced. In granulosa cells from mice with either global or granulosa cell-specific disruption of EGFR signaling, LH-induced phosphorylation of MAPK3/1, p38MAPK, and connexin-43 is impaired. Although the LH-induced decrease in cGMP is EGFR-dependent in wild type follicles, LH still induces a decrease in cGMP in Egfr(delta/f) Cyp19-Cre follicles. Thus compensatory mechanisms appear activated in the mutant. Spatial propagation of the LH signal in the follicle also is dependent on the EGF network, and likely is important for the control of signaling to the oocyte. Thus, multiple signals and redundant pathways contribute to regulating oocyte reentry into the cell cycle.

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