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PloS one

Proprotein convertase furin regulates apoptosis and proliferation of granulosa cells in the rat ovary.


PMID 23418414

Abstract

Folliculogenesis is tightly controlled by a series of hormones, growth factors and cytokines, many of which are secreted as proproteins and require processing by proteases before becoming functional. Furin is a member of the subtilisin-like proteases that activate large numbers of proprotein substrates and is ubiquitously expressed and implicated in many physiological and pathological processes. However, the precise role of furin during folliculogenesis has not been thoroughly investigated. The goal of the present work is to identify the role of furin in the development of granulosa cells during folliculogenesis, using immunohistochemistry, RT-PCR, Western blot and functional studies in primary cultured rat granulosa cells. Our results demonstrate that furin is highly expressed in granulosa cells and oocytes of the ovary with very limited expression in other ovarian cells such as the epithelial, stromal or theca cells. Furin siRNA significantly increases apoptosis of the granulosa cells from large antral/preovulatory follicles, in part via downregulation of the anti-apoptotic proteins, XIAP and p-AKT. On the contrary, furin siRNA markedly decreases proliferation of granulosa cells based on the downregulation of proliferation cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). Taken together, these data suggest that furin may play an important role in regulating apoptosis and proliferation of granulosa cells.

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