Regulation of the Rhox5 homeobox gene in primary granulosa cells: Preovulatory expression and dependence on SP1/SP3 and GABP

James A. MacLean, Manjeet K. Rao, Kari M.H. Doyle, Jo Anne S. Richards, Miles F. Wilkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Homeobox genes encode transcription factors that regulate embryonic development and postnatal events. Rhox5 (previously called Pem), the founding member of a homeobox gene cluster that we recently identified on the X chromosome, is selectively expressed in granulosa cells in the ovary and other somatic-cell types in other reproductive organs. In this report, we investigate its regulation in granulosa cells in the rat ovary. We found that Rhox5 expression in the ovary is governed by the Rhox5 distal promoter and is expressed at least as early as Day 5 postpartum. Rhox5 mRNA levels are regulated during the ovarian cycle, peaking before ovulation. Deletion analysis revealed a 25-nt element essential for distal promoter transcription in primary granulosa cells. This distal promoter element contains two ETS and one SP1 transcription-factor family binding sites that mutagenesis analysis indicated were essential for high-level transcription. This element was both necessary and sufficient for transcription, because it activated transcription when placed upstream of a heterologous minimal promoter. Cold competition and electrophoretic mobility shift assay studies demonstrated that SP1, SP3, and the ETS family transcription factor GABP bound this element. Dominant-negative forms of GABP and SP3 repressed distal promoter expression in primary rat granulosa, showing that these factors are crucial for Rhox5 expression. Cotransfection of dominant-negative mutants indicated that Rhox5 expression in granulosa cells is regulated by the c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK, MAPK8) and RAS pathways, which are known to be upstream of ETS family transcription factors. The discovery that Rhox5 expression in granulosa cells is regulated by MAPK pathways and ETS and SP1 family members provides an opportunity to understand how these regulatory pathways and factors collaborate to regulate gene expression during the ovarian cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1126-1134
Number of pages9
JournalBiology of reproduction
Volume73
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Gene regulation
  • Granulosa cells
  • Homeobox
  • Ovary
  • Ovulatory cycle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology

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