The ovarian follicle supplies a unique dynamic system for gametes that ensures the propagation of the species. During folliculogenesis, the vast majority of the germ cells are lost or inactivated because of ovarian follicle atresia, resulting in diminished reproductive potency and potential infertility. Understanding the underlying molecular mechanism of folliculogenesis rules is essential. Primordial (P), preantral (M), and large antral (L) porcine follicles were used to reveal their genome-wide gene expression profiles. Results indicate that primordial follicles (P) process a diverse gene expression pattern compared to growing follicles (M and L). The 5,548 differentially expressed genes display a similar expression mode in M and L, with a correlation coefficient of 0.892. The number of regulated (both up and down) genes in M is more than that in L. Also, their regulation folds in M (2–364-fold) are much more acute than in L (2–75-fold). Differentially expressed gene groups with different regulation patterns in certain follicular stages are identified and presumed to be closely related following follicular developmental rules. Interestingly, functional annotation analysis revealed that these gene groups feature distinct biological processes or molecular functions. Moreover, representative candidate genes from these gene groups have had their RNA or protein expressions within follicles confirmed. Our study emphasized genome-scale gene expression characteristics, which provide novel entry points for understanding the folliculogenesis rules on the molecular level, such as follicular initiation, atresia, and dominance. Transcriptional regulatory circuitries in certain follicular stages are expected to be found among the identified differentially expressed gene groups.
Mammalian Genome – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 28, 2013
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