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Mol Endocrinol. 1999 Aug;13(8):1364-72.

Adenovirus-directed expression of a nonphosphorylatable mutant of CREB (cAMP response element-binding protein) adversely affects the survival, but not the differentiation, of rat granulosa cells.

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Department of Cell Biology, The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.


Although usually considered to be a constitutively expressed protein, in the primate ovary the expression of CREB (cAMP response element-binding protein) is extinguished after ovulation, and its loss is temporally associated with the cessation of proliferation of luteal cells and the ultimate commitment of the corpus luteum to undergo regression. To determine the cellular consequences of the loss of CREB expression, we expressed a nonphosphorylatable mutant of CREB (CREB M1) in primary cultures of rat granulosa cells using a replication-defective adenovirus vector. Expression of CREB M1 did not block granulosa cell differentiation as assessed by acquisition of the ability to produce estrogen and progesterone in response to FSH or forskolin. However, granulosa cells expressing CREB M1, but not adenovirus-directed beta-galactosidase or enhanced green fluorescent protein, exhibited a 35% reduction in viability that was further reduced to 65% after stimulation with 10 microM forskolin. These results demonstrate that the trophic effects of cAMP (proliferation and survival) on ovarian granulosa cells are functionally separate from the effects of cAMP on differentiation and provide novel evidence that CREB may function as a cell survival factor in the ovary. The separation of signaling pathways that govern differentiation and survival in the ovary thereby provides a mechanism by which progesterone production, which is absolutely essential for the maintenance of pregnancy, can continue despite the cessation of proliferation of luteal cells and their commitment to cell death (luteolysis).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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