Regulation of ACVR1 and ID2 by cell-secreted exosomes during follicle maturation in the mare. da Silveira JC 2014 et al.
Ovarian follicle growth and maturation requires extensive communication between follicular somatic cells and oocytes. Recently, intercellular cell communication was described involving cell-secreted vesicles called exosomes (50-150 nm), which contain miRNAs and protein, and have been identified in ovarian follicular fluid. The goal of this study was to identify a possible role of exosomes in follicle maturation.
Follicle contents were collected from mares at mid-estrous (~35 mm, before induction of follicular maturation) and pre-ovulatory follicles (30-34 h after induction of follicular maturation). A real time PCR screen was conducted to reveal significant differences in the presence of exosomal miRNAs isolated from mid-estrous and pre-ovulatory follicles, and according to bioinformatics analysis these exosomal miRNAs are predicted to target members belonging to the TGFB superfamily, including ACVR1 and ID2. Granulosa cells from pre-ovulatory follicles were cultured and treated with exosomes isolated from follicular fluid. Changes in mRNA and protein were measured by real time PCR and Western blot.
ACVR1 mRNA and protein was detected in granulosa cells at mid-estrous and pre-ovulatory stages, and real time PCR analysis revealed significantly lower levels of ID2 (an ACVR1 target gene) in granulosa cells from pre-ovulatory follicles. Exposure to exosomes from follicular fluid of mid-estrous follicles decreased ID2 levels in granulosa cells. Moreover, exosomes isolated from mid-estrous and pre-ovulatory follicles contain ACVR1 and miR-27b, miR-372, and miR-382 (predicted regulators of ACVR1 and ID2) were capable of altering ID2 levels in pre-ovulatory granulosa cells.
These data indicate that exosomes isolated from follicular fluid can regulate members of the TGFB/BMP signaling pathway in granulosa cells, and possibly play a role in regulating follicle maturation.