MATER protein as substrate of PKCε in human cumulus cells

Tullia Maraldi, M. Riccio, P. Sena, L. Marzona, A. Nicoli, A. La Marca, S. Marmiroli, J. Bertacchini, G. La Sala, A. De Pol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High activity of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Akt pathway in cumulus cells plays an important role in FSH regulation of cell function and Protein Kinase C epsilon (PKCε) collaborates with these signalling pathways to regulate cell proliferation. Relevant roles in follicular development are played by Maternal Antigen That Embryos Require (MATER) that is a cumulus cell- and oocyte-specific protein dependent on the maternal genome. We recently demonstrated that human MATER localizes at specific domains of oocytes and, for the first time, also in cumulus cells. MATER contains a carboxy-terminal leucine-rich repeat domain involved in protein-protein interactions regulating different cellular functions. Here we investigated the functional role of MATER. Thus, we performed coimmunoprecipitation experiments using HEK293T cells expressing human MATER; a similar approach was then followed in human cumulus/follicular cells. In MATER+HEK293T cells, we observed that this protein acts as a phosphorylation substrate of PKCε. Western blot experiments indicate that, unlike oocytes, human cumulus cells express PKCε. Immunoprecipitation and confocal analysis suggest for the first time that MATER protein interacts with this protein kinase in cumulus cells under physiological conditions. Since PKCε is known to collaborate with antiapoptotic signalling pathways, this suggests a novel mechanism for the function of MATER in follicular maturation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-506
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Human Reproduction
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Cumulus cells
  • Follicular development
  • Human ovary
  • PKC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Embryology
  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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