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Myllymaa S.,University of Helsinki | Pasternack A.,University of Helsinki | Pasternack A.,Biotechvisions Ltd. | Mottershead D.G.,University of Helsinki | And 7 more authors.
Reproduction | Year: 2010

Growth differentiation factor-9 (GDF9) and bone morphogenetic protein-15 (BMP15) are among the key regulators transmitting the signaling between the oocyte and the surrounding granulosa cells. Previously, it has been shown that a recombinant BMP type II receptor ectodomain-Fc fusion protein (BMPR2ecd-Fc) is able to inhibit the actions of GDF9 and BMP15 in vitro. Here, we have produced bioactive BMPR2ecd-Fc, which was injected i.p. into neonatal mice. Early folliculogenesis was first studied by injecting mice five times with various doses of BMPR2ecd-Fc during the postnatal days 4-12. Folliculogenesis was affected dose dependently, as evidenced by a decreased mitogenesis of granulosa cells of the growing follicles. Furthermore, we also noticed a decrease in the number of secondary and tertiary follicles as well as an increase in the oocyte size. Electron microscopic analysis revealed that the ultrastructure of the granulosa cells of the primary follicles was not affected by the BMPR2ecd-Fc treatment. A second study was conducted to investigate whether a longer treatment with 12 injections during postnatal days 4-28 would inhibit folliculogenesis. Similar effects were observed in the two studies on the early follicular developmental stages. However, in the long-term study, later stages of folliculogenesis were not blocked but rather increased numbers of antral follicles, preovulatory follicles, and corpora lutea were found. We conclude that BMPR2ecd-Fc is a potent modulator of ovarian folliculogenesis in vivo, and thus, is a valuable tool for studying the physiology and downstream effects of oocyte-derived growth factors in vivo. © 2010 Society for Reproduction and Fertility.

Pulkki M.M.,University of Helsinki | Mottershead D.G.,University of Helsinki | Mottershead D.G.,University of Adelaide | Pasternack A.H.,University of Helsinki | And 8 more authors.
Endocrinology | Year: 2012

Genetic studies have identified bone morphogenetic protein-15 (BMP15) as an essential regulator of female fertility in humans and in sheep. Oocyte-derived BMP15 is a noncovalently linked dimeric growth factor mediating its effects to ovarian somatic cells in a paracrine manner. Although receptor ectodomains capable of binding BMP15 have previously been reported, no cell surface receptor complex involved in BMP15 signaling has previously been characterized. Here we have expressed and purified recombinant human BMP15 noncovalent and covalent dimer variants. The biological effects of these BMP15 variants were assessed in cultured human granulosa-luteal cells or COV434 granulosa cell tumor cells using BMP-responsive transcriptional reporter assays and an inhibin B ELISA. Biochemical characterization of ligand-receptor interactions was performed with affinity-labeling experiments using [ 125I]iodinated BMP15 variants. Both ligand variants were shown to form homodimers and to stimulate Smad1/5/8 signaling and inhibin B production in human granulosa cells in a similar manner. [ 125I]Iodination of both ligands was achieved, but only the covalent dimer variant retained receptor binding capacity. The [ 125I] BMP15 S356C variant bound preferentially to endogenous BMP receptor 1B (BMPR1B) and BMPR2 receptors on COV434 cells. Binding experiments in COS cells with overexpression of these receptors confirmed that the [ 125I] BMP15 S356C variant binds to BMPR1B and BMPR2 forming the BMP15 signaling complex. The results provide the first direct evidence in any species on the identification of specific cell surface receptors for a member of the GDF9/BMP15 subfamily of oocyte growth factors. The fact that BMP15 uses preferentially BMPR1B as its type I receptor suggests an important role for the BMPR1B receptor in human female fertility. The result is well in line with the demonstration of ovarian failure in a recently reported human subject with a homozygous BMPR1B loss-of-function mutant. Copyright © 2012 by The Endocrine Society.

Pulkki M.M.,University of Helsinki | Myllymaa S.,University of Helsinki | Pasternack A.,University of Helsinki | Lun S.,Agresearch Ltd. | And 10 more authors.
Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology | Year: 2011

Oocyte-derived bone morphogenetic protein-15 (BMP15) is critical for the regulation of mammalian fertility. Previously we have found that a C-terminal His6-tag destroys the bioactivity of growth differentiation-9 (GDF9, a homolog of BMP15). In this study we found that recombinant human BMP15 is produced by HEK-293T cells in an active form, but the bioactivity is lost by C-terminal modification, specifically, fusion to a Flag tag. After purification the mature BMP15wt is active in transcriptional reporter assays specific for Smad1/5/8 in human granulosa-luteal (hGL) and COV434 granulosa tumor cells, whereas BMP15 with a carboxy-terminal Flag tag remains inactive. Using these same cell models we found that treatment with purified mature BMP15wt causes a rapid phosphorylation of Smad1. The purified BMP15wt is a potent stimulator of rat granulosa cell DNA synthesis, which could be antagonized by the BMPRII ectodomain-Fc fusion molecule, whereas the BMP15C-Flag was completely inactive. Further, the BMP15wt form is a potent stimulator of inhibin B production in hGL cells. We found that the purified BMP15wt consists of P16 and -17, both of which are post-translationally modified forms. This is the first characterization of a purified untagged human BMP15 mature region, which is stable and highly bioactive in human and rodent granulosa cells and as such is of importance for studies on human fertility. © 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

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