Animal Reproduction (AR)
Animal Reproduction (AR)
Conference Paper

MicroRNA control of ovarian function

L.K. Christenson

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Post-transcriptional gene regulation, a regulatory mechanism classically involved in female and male germ cell function, has recently been implicated in control of somatic cells of the ovary and testis. Recent advancements in this field may be attributed primarily to the discovery and study of microRNAs (miRNA), small RNA transcripts that can influence mRNA expression via post-transcriptional gene regulatory mechanisms. In the ovary, targeted deletion of Dicer 1, a key enzyme in miRNA biogenesis, provided the first empirical evidence that miRNA/siRNA were critically involved in multiple aspects of ovarian function (folliculogenesis, oocyte maturation, ovulation, and luteal function). Functional studies of miRNA in the ovary have mostly focused on granulosa cells during the critical period of the ovarian cycle surrounding the ovulatory surge of luteinizing hormone (LH). Specific miRNA have been implicated in ovarian responses, due to their transcriptional induction by the LH surge (i.e., miR-21, -132 and -212) or through bioinformatic approaches (miR-224, -17-5p and let-7b). Numerous other miRNA are highly abundant in ovarian somatic tissues, suggesting that we have much to discover with respect to the role of miRNA and regulation of ovarian function. This review will recap the key observations of these early studies and provide insight into future experiments that might further our understanding of ovarian function.


granulosa, microRNA, oocyte, ovary
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