Cyclin D2 (Ccnd2) is an essential gene for folliculogenesis, as null mutation in mice impairs granulosa cell proliferation in response to FSH. Ccnd2 mRNA is induced during the estrus cycle by FSH and is rapidly inhibited by LH. Yet, the responsive elements and transcription factors accounting for the gene expression of cyclin D2 in the ovary have not been fully characterized. Using primary cultures of rat granulosa cells and immortalized mouse granulosa cells, we demonstrate a mechanism for the regulation of cyclin D2 at the level of transcription via a PKA-dependent signaling mechanism. The promoter activity of cyclin D2 was shown to be induced by FSH and the catalytic alpha subunit of PKA (PRKACA), and this activity was repressible by inducible cAMP early repressor (ICER), a cAMP response element (CRE) modulator isoform. In silico analysis of the mouse, rat, and human cyclin D2 promoters identified two CRE-binding protein sites, a conserved proximal element and a less conserved distal element relative to the translation start site. The mutation on the proximal element drastically decreases the effects of PRKACA and ICER on the promoter activity, whereas the mutation on the distal element did not contribute to the decrease in the promoter activity. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays and deoxyribonuclease footprint analysis confirmed ICER binding to the proximal element, and chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis demonstrated the occurrence of this binding in vivo. These results showed a CRE within the upstream region of Ccnd2 that is (at least partly) implicated in the stimulation and repression of cyclin D2 transcription. Finally, our data suggest that ICER involvement in the regulation of granulosa cell proliferation as overexpression of ICER results in the inhibition of PRKACA-induced DNA synthesis.
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