Smad7 has a key role in apoptosis of mammalian ovarian granulosa cells (GCs), as it antagonizes and fine-tunes transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) signaling. This study demonstrates that miR-92a regulates GC apoptosis in pig ovaries by targeting Smad7 directly. The expression level of miR-92a was down-regulated in atretic porcine follicles, whereas miR-92a expression led to inhibition of GC apoptosis. The Smad7 gene was identified as a direct target of miR-92a using a dual-luciferase reporter assay. Transfection of GCs with miR-92a mimics decreased Smad7 mRNA and protein levels, whereas expression of an miR-92a inhibitor in GCs had the opposite effect. In addition, knockdown of Smad7 prevented GC apoptosis in cells that expressed the miR-92a inhibitor.
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