Vanin-2 (VNN2) is known to be involved in inflammation and leukocyte migration, but its regulation in follicles remains unknown. The objectives of this work were to study the regulation of VNN2 transcripts in bovine follicles prior to ovulation and to characterize the control of its expression in bovine granulosa cells. VNN2 expression was studied using total RNA extracted from granulosa cells of small follicles (2–4 mm in diameter), dominant follicles obtained on Day 5 of the estrous cycle, ovulatory follicles obtained 0–24 h after human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), and corpora lutea on Day 5 of the cycle. The results from RT-PCR analyses showed that levels of VNN2 mRNA were high in ovulatory follicles 24 h post-hCG but low in the other tissues. In ovulatory follicles, levels of VNN2 mRNA were low at 0 h but significantly up-regulated 12–24 h post-hCG. To determine factors controlling VNN2 gene expression, established primary cultures of granulosa cells isolated from bovine dominant follicles were used. Treatment with forskolin elevated VNN2 mRNA expression as observed in vivo. Mutation studies identified the minimal region conferring basal and forskolin-stimulated VNN2 promoter activities, which were dependent on chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor (COUP-TF), GATA, and Ebox cis-elements. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays identified COUP-TF, GATA4, and upstream stimulating factor proteins as key factors interacting with these elements. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays confirmed basal and forskolin-induced interactions between these proteins and the VNN2 promoter in bovine granulosa cell cultures. VNN2 promoter activity and mRNA expression were markedly stimulated by forskolin and overexpression of the catalytic subunit of PKA, but inhibited by PKA and ERK1/2 inhibitors. Collectively, the findings from this study describe for the first time the gonadotropin/forskolin-dependent up-regulation of VNN2 transcripts in granulosa cells of preovulatory follicles and provide insights into some of the molecular bases of VNN2 gene expression in follicular cells.
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Vol. 89 • No. 4