Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) is a biologically active phospholipid recently introduced as a new marker for ovarian cancer. Because high concentrations of LPA have also been found in the follicular fluid from healthy subjects, one can presume that this biological mediator may have relevance for normal ovarian physiology as well. We have reported earlier that luteal cells possess specific binding sites for LPA. Using these cells as a model, we show now that LPA is able to modulate the morphological cell shape changes induced by LH in that it inhibits the formation of stellate processes induced by LH. This morphoregulatory effect of LPA is mimicked by cytotoxic necrotizing factor 1, a bacterial toxin known to activate small G-proteins from the Rho family. On the other hand, C3-exotransferase that acts mainly through the inhibition of Rho A mimics the effects of LH. Furthermore, we report here that the morphoregulatory effects of LPA are accompanied by the translocation of Rho proteins from the cytosol to cell membrane, an effect generally considered to be an indicator for the activation of Rho-GTPases. During the development and rescue of the corpus luteum, major morphoregulatory effects are exerted by LH that appear to be modulated by LPA via an activation of Rho proteins.
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