Biochemical and biophysical research communications

EGR2 is a gonadotropin-induced survival factor that controls the expression of IER3 in ovarian granulosa cells.

PMID 27890615


Pituitary gonadotropins are key hormones that orchestrate the growth and development of ovarian follicles. However, limited information is available on intra-ovarian factors that mediate the actions of gonadotropins. In this study, we identified that the early growth response 2 gene (EGR2) is a gonadotropin-inducible gene in granulosa cells of rats and humans. Analysis of consensus EGR-binding elements (EBEs) showed that the immediate early response 3 gene (IER3) is a novel transcriptional target gene of EGR2 as confirmed by the luciferase assay, electrophoretic mobility-shift assay (EMSA), chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), and western blot analysis. Overexpression of EGR2 promoted survival of KGN human granulosa-derived cells in which IER3 acts as a mediator; knockdown of EGR2 induced death in KGN cells. Additionally, EGR2 was found to regulate the expression of myeloid cell leukemia 1 (MCL-1), which belongs to the BCL-2 family of proteins regulating cell survival. Thus, this study identified a novel signaling axis, comprised of gonadotropins-EGR2-IER3, which is important for the survival of granulosa cells during folliculogenesis.