Involvement of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling in estrogen inhibition of oocyte maturation mediated through G protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER) in zebrafish (Danio rerio)
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Oocyte maturation (OM) in teleosts is under precise hormonal control by estrogens and progestins. We show here that estrogens activate an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling pathway through the G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER) to maintain meiotic arrest of full-grown zebrafish (Danio rerio) oocytes in an in vitro germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD) bioassay. A GPER- specific agonist decreased OM and a GPER-specific antagonist increased spontaneous OM, whereas specific nuclear estrogen receptor (ERα and ERβ) agonists did not affect OM, which suggests the inhibitory action of estrogens on OM are solely mediated through GPER. Furthermore, a peptide-bound estrogen, which cannot enter the oocyte, decreased GVBD, showing that these estrogen actions are mediated through a membrane receptor. Treatment of oocytes with actinomycin D, a transcription inhibitor, did not block the inhibitory effects of estrogens on OM, indicating that estrogens act via a nongenomic mechanism to maintain oocyte meiotic arrest. EGFR mRNA was detected in denuded zebrafish oocytes by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Therefore, the potential role of transactivation of EGFR in estrogen inhibition of OM was investigated. The matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor, ilomastat, which prevents the release of heparin-bound epidermal growth factor (HB-EGF), increased spontaneous OM. Moreover, specific EGFR1 (ErbB1) inhibitors and inhibitors of extracellular-related kinase 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) increased spontaneous OM. Previously, estrogens have been shown to increase 3’-5’-cyclic adenosine mono phosphate (cAMP) levels through GPER in zebrafish oocytes during meiotic arrest. Taken together these present results suggest that estrogens also act through GPER to maintain meiotic arrest through a second signaling pathway involving transactivation of EGFR and activation of ERK 1 and 2.