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BMC Biol. 2018 Jul 5;16(1):73. doi: 10.1186/s12915-018-0541-4.

CDC42 controls the activation of primordial follicles by regulating PI3K signaling in mouse oocytes.

Author information

1
State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology, College of Biological Science, China Agricultural University, Beijing, 100193, China.
2
Center for Reproductive Medicine, Shandong Provincial Hospital Affiliated to Shandong University, Jinan, 250021, China.
3
State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology, College of Biological Science, China Agricultural University, Beijing, 100193, China. glxia@cau.edu.cn.
4
State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology, College of Biological Science, China Agricultural University, Beijing, 100193, China. huazhang@cau.edu.cn.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In mammalian females, progressive activation of dormant primordial follicles in adulthood is crucial for the maintenance of the reproductive lifespan. Misregulated activation of primordial follicles leads to various ovarian diseases, such as premature ovarian insufficiency (POI). Although recent studies have revealed that several functional genes and pathways, such as phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling, play roles in controlling the activation of primordial follicles, our understanding of the molecular networks regulating the activation progress is still incomplete.

RESULTS:

Here, we identify a new role for cell division cycle 42 (CDC42) in regulating the activation of primordial follicles in mice. Our results show that CDC42 expression increases in oocytes during the activation of primordial follicles in the ovary. Disruption of CDC42 activity with specific inhibitors or knockdown of Cdc42 expression significantly suppresses primordial follicle activation in cultured mouse ovaries. Conversely, the follicle activation ratio is remarkably increased by overexpression of CDC42 in ovaries. We further demonstrate that CDC42 governs the process of primordial follicle activation by binding to phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase catalytic subunit beta (p110β) and regulating the expression levels of PTEN in oocytes. Finally, we extend our study to potential clinical applications and show that a short-term in vitro treatment with CDC42 activators could significantly increase the activation rates of primordial follicles in both neonatal and adult mouse ovaries.

CONCLUSION:

Our results reveal that CDC42 controls the activation of primordial follicles in the mammalian ovary and that increasing the activity of CDC42 with specific activators might improve the efficiency of in vitro activation approaches, opening avenues for infertility treatments.

KEYWORDS:

CDC42; In vitro activation; PI3K signaling; Premature ovarian insufficiency; Primordial follicle activation

PMID:
29976179
PMCID:
PMC6033292
DOI:
10.1186/s12915-018-0541-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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