In most mammals, prostaglandin F2α (PGF2α) is believed to be a trigger that induces the regression of the corpus luteum (CL), whereby progesterone synthesis is inhibited, the luteal structure involutes, and the reproductive cycle resumes. Studies have shown that the early growth response 1 (EGR1) protein can induce the expression of proapoptotic proteins, suggesting that EGR1 may play a role in luteal regression. Our hypothesis is that EGR1 mediates the actions of PGF2α by inducing the expression of TGF β1 (TGFB1), a key tissue remodeling protein. The levels of EGR1 mRNA and protein were up-regulated in the bovine CL during PGF2α-induced luteolysis in vivo and in PGF2α-treated luteal cells in vitro. Using chemical and genetic approaches, the RAF/MAPK kinase (MEK) 1/ERK pathway was identified as a proximal signaling event required for the induction of EGR1 in PGF2α-treated cells. Treatment with PGF2α increased the expression of TGFB1 mRNA and protein as well as the binding of EGR1 protein to TGFB1 promoter in bovine luteal cells. The effect of PGF2α on TGFB1 expression was mimicked by a protein kinase C (PKC)/RAF/MEK1/ERK activator or adenoviral-mediated expression of EGR1. The stimulatory effect of PGF2α on TGFB1 mRNA and TGFB1 protein secretion was inhibited by blockade of MEK1/ERK signaling and by adenoviral-mediated expression of NAB2, an EGR1 binding protein that inhibits EGR1 transcriptional activity. Treatment of luteal cells with TGFB1 reduced progesterone secretion, implicating TGFB1 in luteal regression. These studies demonstrate that PGF2α stimulates the expression of EGR1 and TGFB1 in the CL. We suggest that EGR1 plays a role in the expression of genes whose cognate proteins coordinate luteal regression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology