© 2014 Park et al.; licensee BioMed Central. Background: The important role of WT1 in early folliculogenesis was evident from its restricted expression pattern in immature follicles and from its involvement in transcriptional control of inhibin-α and FSH receptor. There is also considerable evidence that WT1 is a potent inhibitor of apoptotic cell death in the developing kidney and male germ cells, suggesting that it could play a role in the regulation of follicle survival. Therefore, we evaluated if WT1 involves in cell survival of granulosa cells (GCs) during the FSH-independent stage. Methods: GCs were obtained from small preantral follicles of immature rat ovary. Bax and bcl-2 mRNA and protein levels in GCs transfected with WT1 (-KTS) or WT1 (+KTS) were analyzed by Real-time RT-PCR and immune-blotting analysis. Cell viability was measured with MTT assays and apoptosis was analyzed with caspase 3/7 activity and TUNEL assay. The mechanism by which WT1 regulates Bax expression was investigated using Bax promoter-luciferase reporter assay and ChIP assays from GCs. Results: Here, we showed that WT1 (-KTS) suppressed endogenous Bax transcript and protein expression, and this inhibition resulted from direct binding of WT1 in the Bax promoter region in vivo. In addition, anti-apoptotic effects of WT1 (-KTS) were demonstrated based on MTT assays, a sensitive bioluminescence caspase 3/7 assay and TUNEL assays. On the other hand, WT1 has no role on bcl-2 expression in GCs. Conclusion: These findings suggest that activation of WT1 is necessary for maintenance of GC survival during early stage of follicles and WT1 can play a role in protecting apoptosis through the regulation of upstream activator (Bax), as well as through regulation of downstream effecter (caspases 3 and 7).
Park, M., Choi, Y., Choi, H., & Roh, J. (2014). Wilms tumor suppressor gene (WT1) suppresses apoptosis by transcriptionally downregulating BAX expression in immature rat granulosa cells. Journal of Ovarian Research, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13048-014-0118-y