Estradiol-17β (E2) plays an important role in the formation and development of primordial follicles, but the mechanisms remain unclear. G protein-coupled receptor 30 (GPR30) can mediate a rapid and transcription- independent E2 signaling in various cells. The objectives of this study were to examine whether GPR30 was expressed in the neonatal hamster ovary and whether it could mediate estrogen action during the formation of primordial follicles. GPR30 mRNA levels decreased from the 13th day of gestation (E13) through the second day of postnatal (P2) life, followed by steady increases from P3 through P6. Consistent with the changes in mRNA levels, GPR30 protein expression decreased from E13 to P2 followed by a significant increase by P7, the day before the first appearance of primordial follicles in the hamster ovary. GPR30 was expressed both in the oocytes and somatic cells, although the expression in the oocytes was low. GPR30 protein was located primarily in the perinuclear endoplasmic reticulum, which was also the site of E 2-BSA-FITC (E2-BSA-fluorescein isothiocyanate) binding. E2 or E2-BSA increased intracellular calcium in neonatal hamster ovary cells in vitro. Exposure to GPR30 small interfering RNA in vitro significantly reduced GPR30 mRNA and protein levels in cultured hamster ovaries, attenuated E-BSA binding to cultured P6 ovarian cells, and markedly suppressed estrogen-stimulated primordial follicle formation. These results suggest that a membrane estrogen receptor, GPR30, is expressed in the ovary during perinatal development and mediates E2 action on primordial follicle formation.
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