Control of oocyte release by progesterone receptor-regulated gene expression.

Rebecca L. Robker, Lisa K. Akison, Darryl L. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


The progesterone receptor (PGR) is a nuclear receptor transcription factor that is essential for female fertility, in part due to its control of oocyte release from the ovary, or ovulation. In all mammals studied to date, ovarian expression of PGR is restricted primarily to granulosa cells of follicles destined to ovulate. Granulosa cell expression of PGR is induced by the pituitary Luteinizing Hormone (LH) surge via mechanisms that are not entirely understood, but which involve activation of Protein Kinase A and modification of Sp1/Sp3 transcription factors on the PGR promoter. Null mutations for PGR or treatment with PGR antagonists block ovulation in all species analyzed, including humans. The cellular mechanisms by which PGR regulates ovulation are currently under investigation, with several downstream pathways having been identified as PGR-regulated and potentially involved in follicular rupture. Interestingly, none of these PGR-regulated genes has been demonstrated to be a direct transcriptional target of PGR. Rather, in ovarian granulosa cells, PGR may act as an inducible coregulator for constitutively bound Sp1/Sp3 transcription factors, which are key regulators for a discrete cohort of ovulatory genes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNuclear Receptor Signaling
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes

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