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Effects of Growth Differentiation Factor 9 and Bone Morphogenetic Protein 15 on the in vitro Maturation of Porcine Oocytes



Growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF9) and bone morphogenetic protein 15 (BMP15) are members of the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) family, and their roles in oocyte maturation and cumulus expansion are well known in the mouse and human, but not in the pig. We investigated GDF9 and BMP15 expressions in porcine oocytes during in vitro maturation. A significant increase in the mRNA levels of GDF9 and BMP15 was observed at germinal vesicle breakdown, with expression levels peaking at metaphase I (MI), but decreasing at metaphase II (MII). GDF9 and BMP15 protein localized to the oocyte cytoplasm. While treatment with GDF9 and BMP15 increased the expression of genes involved in both oocyte maturation (c-mos, cyclinb1 and cdc2) and cumulus expansion (has2, ptgs2, ptx3 and tnfaip6), SB431542 (a TGFβ–GDF9 inhibitor) decreased meiotic maturation at MII. Following parthenogenetic activation, the percentage of blastocysts in SB431542 treatment was lower than in the control (41.3% and 74.4%, respectively). Treatment with GDF9 and BMP15 also increased the mRNA levels of maternal genes such as c-mos [a regulatory subunit of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)], and cyclinb1 and cdc2 [regulatory subunits of maturation/M-phase-promoting factor (MPF)]; however, SB431542 significantly decreased their mRNA levels. These data were supported by poly (A)-test PCR and protein activity analyses. Our results show that GDF9 and BMP15 participate in cumulus expansion and that they stimulate MPF and MAPK activities in porcine oocytes during in vitro maturation.