Oocyte regulation of metabolic cooperativity between mouse cumulus cells and oocytes: BMP15 and GDF9 control cholesterol biosynthesis in cumulus cells.

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Cholesterol, Cumulus-Cells, Female, Gene-Expression-Regulation-Developmental, Intercellular-Signaling-Peptides-and-Proteins, Mice-Knockout, Mutation, Oocytes, RNA-Messenger, Transcription-Genetic

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Development 2008 Jan; 135(1):111-21.


Oocyte-derived bone morphogenetic protein 15 (BMP15) and growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF9) are key regulators of follicular development. Here we show that these factors control cumulus cell metabolism, particularly glycolysis and cholesterol biosynthesis before the preovulatory surge of luteinizing hormone. Transcripts encoding enzymes for cholesterol biosynthesis were downregulated in both Bmp15(-/-) and Bmp15(-/-) Gdf9(+/-) double mutant cumulus cells, and in wild-type cumulus cells after removal of oocytes from cumulus-cell-oocyte complexes. Similarly, cholesterol synthesized de novo was reduced in these cumulus cells. This indicates that oocytes regulate cumulus cell cholesterol biosynthesis by promoting the expression of relevant transcripts. Furthermore, in wild-type mice, Mvk, Pmvk, Fdps, Sqle, Cyp51, Sc4mol and Ebp, which encode enzymes required for cholesterol synthesis, were highly expressed in cumulus cells compared with oocytes; and oocytes, in the absence of the surrounding cumulus cells, synthesized barely detectable levels of cholesterol. Furthermore, coincident with reduced cholesterol synthesis in double mutant cumulus cells, lower levels were also detected in cumulus-cell-enclosed double mutant oocytes compared with wild-type oocytes. Levels of cholesterol synthesis in double mutant cumulus cells and oocytes were partially restored by co-culturing with wild-type oocytes. Together, these results indicate that mouse oocytes are deficient in synthesizing cholesterol and require cumulus cells to provide products of the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway. Therefore, oocyte-derived paracrine factors, particularly, BMP15 and GDF9, promote cholesterol biosynthesis in cumulus cells, probably as compensation for oocyte deficiencies in cholesterol production.