Ligands, receptors and transcription factors that mediate inter-cellular and intra-cellular communication during ovarian follicle development

Beatriz Peñalver Bernabé, Teresa Woodruff, Linda J. Broadbelt, Lonnie D. Shea*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reliably producing a competent oocyte entails a deeper comprehension of ovarian follicle maturation, a very complex process that includes meiotic maturation of the female gamete, the oocyte, together with the mitotic divisions of the hormone-producing somatic cells. In this report, we investigate mice ovarian folliculogenesis in vivo using publically available time-series microarrays from primordial to antral stage follicles. Manually curated protein interaction networks were employed to identify autocrine and paracrine signaling between the oocyte and the somatic cells (granulosa and theca cells) and the oocyte and cumulus and mural cells at multiple stages of follicle development. We established protein binding interactions between expressed genes that encoded secreted factors and expressed genes that encoded cellular receptors. Some of computationally identified signaling interactions are well established, such as the paracrine signaling from the oocyte to the somatic cells through the secreted oocyte growth factor Gdf9; while others are novel connections in term of ovarian folliculogenesis, such as the possible paracrine connection from somatic secreted factor Ntn3 to the oocyte receptor Neo1. Additionally, we identify several of the likely transcription factors that might control the dynamic transcriptome during ovarian follicle development, noting that the YAP/TAP signaling is very active in vivo. This novel dynamic model of signaling and regulation can be employed to generate testable hypotheses regarding follicle development, guide the improvement of culture media to enhance in vitro ovarian follicle maturation and possibly as novel therapeutic targets for reproductive diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Mar 30 2019


  • dynamic regulation ovarian follicle development
  • dynamic signaling
  • inter-cellular communications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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