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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013 May 3;434(2):401-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2013.04.002. Epub 2013 Apr 9.

GRK-6 mediates FSH action synergistically enhanced by estrogen and the oocyte in rat granulosa cells.

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Department of Medicine and Clinical Science, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama 700-8558, Japan.


Estrogen is known to play a pivotal role in granulosa cell responses to follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) that is critical for the establishment of dominant follicles and subsequent ovulation in mammals. Thus, elucidating the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate FSH activity is important to understand female fertility. We previously discovered that the oocyte is required for estrogen to exert its positive effects on FSH activity in rat granulosa cells. This finding supports the new concept that estrogen action in granulosa cells is mediated by the oocyte. In the current study, we explored the underlying mechanism. In the presence of oocytes, estrogens enhanced FSH-induced increases in aromatase, steroidogenic acute regulatory protein and FSH receptor mRNA expression as well as cAMP production. However, as forskolin did not mimic FSH activity this indicated that coexistence of estrogen/oocytes increases FSH activity at a site upstream of adenylate cyclase in granulosa cells. We therefore sought a possible involvement of the autoregulatory molecules for FSH receptor, G protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRKs) and ß-arrestins in enhancing FSH activity in response to the estrogen/oocyte co-treatment in granulosa cells. Among the seven known GRK and two ß-arrestin molecules, we found that estrogens with oocytes suppressed FSH-induced GRK-6 mRNA expression. Consistent with this finding, transfecting granulosa cells with small interfering RNA of GRK-6 significantly increased FSH induction of aromatase mRNA, suggesting that endogenous GRK-6 plays an inhibitory role in FSH-induced aromatase mRNA expression. Consequently, these findings strongly suggest that GRK-6 is involved in the mechanism by which estrogen and oocytes synergistically augment FSH activity in granulosa cells.

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