Nuclear progesterone receptor regulates ptger4b and PLA2G4A expression in zebrafish (Danio rerio) ovulation
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Previous studies have implicated the nuclear progesterone receptor (Pgr or nPR) as being critical to ovulation in fishes. This study investigated the expression of Pgr in zebrafish ovarian follicles throughout development as well as putative downstream targets of Pgr by searching the promoter regions of selected genes for specific DNA sequences to which Pgr binds and acts as a transcription factor. Expression of Pgr mRNA increases dramatically as follicles grow and mature. In silico analysis of selected genes linked to ovulation showed that the prostaglandin receptors ptger4a and ptger4b contained the progesterone responsive element (PRE) GRCCGGA in their promoter regions. Studies using full-grown follicles incubated in vitro revealed that ptger4b was upregulated in response to 17,20β-P. Our studies also showed that the expression of phospholipase A2 (PLA2G4A) mRNA and protein, a key enzyme in prostaglandin synthesis, was upregulated in response to 17,20β-P treatment. pla2g4a was not found to contain a PRE, indicating that it is regulated indirectly by 17,20β-P or that it may contain an as-of-yet unidentified PRE in its promoter region. Collectively, these studies provide further evidence of the importance of Pgr during the periovulatory periods through its involvement in prostaglandin production and function by controlling expression of PLA2G4A and the receptor EP4b and that these genes appear to be regulated through the actions of 17,20β-P.
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