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J Reprod Fertil. 1997 Mar;109(2):337-48.

Steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) protein (p25) and prohibitin (p28) from cultured rat ovarian granulosa cells.

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Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


This study has identified and characterized two intracellular proteins (25 and 28 kDa) during ongoing differentiation of rat granulosa cells isolated from preantral and early antral follicles. The identity of p25 was confirmed as the mitochondria associated StAR protein by western blotting analysis. In the culture conditions used, this protein was expressed only when granulosa cells were stimulated with FSH to produce progesterone. It is apparent that the steroidogenic differentiation of granulosa cells affects StAR expression. Amino acid sequence analysis of p28 identified it as prohibitin and was corroborated by western blot analysis with antibodies specific for rat prohibitin. During the ongoing differentiation of granulosa cells there were changes in the expression of p28/prohibitin. Although prohibitin is constitutively expressed in granulosa cells, there is an increase in the more acidic isoform of prohibitin when oestrogen concentrations are raised by increased production or exogenous addition. This increase in this acidic isoform of prohibitin is due to phosphorylation. It is possible that oestrogen induces phosphorylation of prohibitin and, thus, may be involved in the regulation of granulosa cell proliferation and the ontogeny of the ovarian follicle.

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