In the mouse ovary, the primordial follicle pool is established through a diverse array of signaling pathways and tissue remodeling events. Growth arrest specific gene two (GAS2) is a highly conserved cytoskeleton-associated protein whose in vivo function remains unclear. In Drosophila, loss of the GAS2 homolog, Pigs, results in infertility. We demonstrate herein that, in the mouse ovary, GAS2 is expressed in the stromal cells surrounding the oocyte cysts on 16.5 dpc, and in stromal cells surrounding growing follicles during juvenile and adult life. We have generated genetically engineered mice with inactivated Gas2. Gas2 homozygous mutant mice are viable but have severely impaired fertility in females, in which oocyte cyst breakdown is disrupted and follicle growth is impaired, with significantly reduced numbers of large antral follicles and corpora lutea. In these mutant mice, the organization of the basal lamina surrounding developing follicles is severely defective at multiple stages of folliculogenesis. We also found that Notch signaling activity was altered in ovaries from Gas2 null mice around the time of birth and during follicular development later in life. These results indicate that GAS2 is a critical and novel regulator of tissue remodeling in the ovary during oocyte cyst breakdown and folliculogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas