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Open Access Research

Potential targets of transforming growth factor-beta1 during inhibition of oocyte maturation in zebrafish

Gurneet Kohli, Eric Clelland and Chun Peng*

Author Affiliations

Department Of Biology, York University, Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3, Canada

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Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 2005, 3:53  doi:10.1186/1477-7827-3-53

Published: 30 September 2005

Abstract

Background

TGF-beta is a multifunctional growth factor involved in regulating a variety of cellular activities. Unlike mammals, the function of TGF-beta in the reproduction of lower vertebrates, such as fish, is not clear. Recently, we showed that TGF-beta1 inhibits gonadotropin- and 17alpha, 20beta-dihydroxyprogesterone (DHP)-induced maturation in zebrafish. The aim of the present study was to investigate the mechanisms underlying this action.

Method

To determine if the effect of TGF-beta1 on oocyte maturation involves transcription and/or translation, ovarian follicles were pre-treated with actinomycin D, a blocker of transcription, and cyclohexamide, an inhibitor of translation, and incubated with hCG or DHP, either alone or in combination with TGF-beta1 and oocyte maturation scored. To determine the effect of TGF-beta1 on mRNA levels of several key effectors of oocyte maturation, three sets of experiments were performed. First, follicles were treated with control medium or TGF-beta1 for 2, 6, 12, and 24 h. Second, follicles were treated with different concentrations of TGF-beta1 (0 to 10 ng/ml) for 18 h. Third, follicles were incubated with hCG in the absence or presence of TGF-beta1 for 18 h. At the end of each experiment, total RNA was extracted and reverse transcribed. PCR using primers specific for 20beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (20beta-HSD) which is involved in DHP production, follicle stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR), luteinizing hormone receptor (LHR), the two forms of membrane progestin receptor: mPR-alpha and mPR-beta, as well as GAPDH (control), were performed.

Results

Treatment with actinomycin D, a blocker of transcription, reduced the inhibitory effect of TGF-beta1 on DHP-induced oocyte maturation, indicating that the inhibitory action of TGF-beta1 is in part due to regulation of gene transcription. Treatment with TGF-beta1 caused a dose and time-dependent decrease in mRNA levels of 20beta-HSD, LHR and mPR-beta in follicles. On the other hand, TGF-beta1 had no effect on mPR-alpha mRNA expression and increased FSHR mRNA levels. Furthermore, hCG upregulated 20beta-HSD, LHR and mPR-beta mRNA levels, but this stimulatory effect was blocked by TGF-beta1.

Conclusion

These findings suggest that TGF-beta1 acts at multiple sites, including LHR, 20beta-HSD and mPR-beta, to inhibit zebrafish oocyte maturation.