Ovarian circadian oscillators have been implicated in the reproductive processes of mammals. However, there are few reports regarding the detection of ovarian clock-controlled genes (CCGs). The present study was designed to unravel the mechanisms through which CCG ovarian circadian oscillators regulate fertility, primarily using quantitative RT-PCR and RNA interference against Bmal1 in rat granulosa cells. Mature granulosa cells were prepared from mouse Per2-destabilized luciferase (dLuc) reporter gene transgenic rats. A real-time monitoring system of Per2 promoter activity was employed to detect Per2-dLuc oscillations. The cells exposed to luteinizing hormone (LH) displayed clear Per2-dLuc oscillations and a rhythmic expression of clock genes (Bmal1, Per1, Per2, Rev-erb, and Dbp). Meanwhile, the examined ovarian genes (Star, Cyp19a1, Cyp11a1, Ptgs2, Lhcgr, and p53) showed rhythmic transcript profiles except for Hsd3b2, indicating that these rhythmic expression genes may be CCGs. Notably, Bmal1 small interfering (si)RNA treatment significantly decreased both the amplitude of Per2-dLuc oscillations and Bmal1 mRNA levels compared with nonsilencing RNA treatment in luteinizing granulosa cells. Depletion of Bmal1 by siRNA decreased the transcript levels of clock genes (Per1, Per2, Rev-erb, and Dbp) and examined ovarian genes (Star, Cyp19a1, Cyp11a1, Ptgs2, Hsd3b2, and Lhcgr). Accordingly, knockdown of Bmal1 also inhibited the synthesis of progesterone and prostaglandin E2, which are associated with crucial reproductive processes. Collectively, these data suggest that ovarian circadian oscillators regulate the synthesis of steroid hormones and prostaglandins through ovarian-specific CCGs in response to LH stimuli. The present study provides new insights into the physiologic significance of Bmal1 related to fertility in ovarian circadian oscillators.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology