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Driving folliculogenesis by the oocyte-somatic cell dialog: lessons from genetic models

Abstract : This review focuses on the role of the dialogue between the oocyte and its companion somatic cells in driving folliculogenesis from the primordial to the preovulatory follicle stage. Mouse and sheep genetic models have brought complementary evidence of these cell interactions and their consequences for ovarian function. In mouse, deletion of genes encoding connexins have shown that functional gap junction channels between oocytes and granulosa cells and between granulosa cells themselves maintain the follicle in a functionally integrated state. Targeted deletions in oocytes or granulosa cells have revealed the cell- and stage-specific role of ubiquist factors belonging to the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signaling pathway in primordial follicle activation, oocyte growth and follicle survival. Various models of transgenic mice and sheep carrying natural loss-of-function mutations associated with sterility have established that the oocyte-derived factors, BMP15 and GDF9, orchestrate follicle development, support cumulus metabolism and maturation and participate in oocyte meiosis arrest. Unexpectedly in sheep, mutations resulting in the attenuation of BMP signaling lead to enhanced ovulation rate, likely resulting from a lowered follicular atresia rate and the enhancement of FSH-regulated follicular maturation. Both the activation level of BMP signaling and an adequate equilibrium between BMP15 and GDF9 determine follicle survival, maturation and development towards ovulation. The physiological approaches which were implemented on genetic animal models during the last 20 years have opened up new perspectives for female fertility by identifying the main signaling pathways of the oocyte-somatic cell dialogue.
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Danielle Monniaux. Driving folliculogenesis by the oocyte-somatic cell dialog: lessons from genetic models. Theriogenology, Elsevier, 2016, 86 (1), pp.41-53. ⟨10.1016/j.theriogenology.2016.04.017⟩. ⟨hal-01529484⟩

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