Cyclooxygenase-2-derived prostaglandin E(2) directs oocyte maturation by differentially influencing multiple signaling pathways.

Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee 37232, USA.
Journal of Biological Chemistry (Impact Factor: 4.65). 01/2007; 281(48):37117-29. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M608202200
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The process of oocyte maturation, which impacts ovulation and fertilization, is complex and requires an integration of the endocrine, paracrine, juxtacrine, and autocrine signaling pathways. This process involves an intimate interaction between the oocyte and encircling cumulus cells within a follicle, a unique venue for somatic and germ cell communication. Cumulus cell expansion and resumption of meiosis with germinal vesicle breakdown are major events in oocyte maturation. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)-derived prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) is a known critical mediator of oocyte maturation, but the diverse function of this lipid mediator in oocyte maturation, ovulation, and fertilization has not been fully appreciated. We show here that gonadotropins in coordination with PGE(2) signaling via its cell surface G-protein-coupled EP2 and EP4 receptor subtypes direct cumulus cell expansion and survival and oocyte meiotic maturation by differentially impacting cAMP-dependent protein kinase, MAPK, NF-kappaB, and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathways. This study is unique in the sense that it provides evidence for new site- and event-specific involvement of these signaling pathways under the influence of COX-2-derived PGE(2) during the critical stages of this somatic-germ cell interaction, an absolute requirement for oocyte maturation.

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