Classically, follicle-stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR)-driven cAMP-mediated signaling boosts human ovarian follicle growth and oocyte maturation. However, contradicting in vitro data suggest a different view on physiological significance of FSHR-mediated cAMP signaling. We found that the G-protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER) heteromerizes with FSHR, reprogramming cAMP/death signals into proliferative stimuli fundamental for sustaining oocyte survival. In human granulosa cells, survival signals are missing at high FSHR:GPER ratio, which negatively impacts follicle maturation and strongly correlates with preferential Gαs protein/cAMP-pathway coupling and FSH responsiveness of patients undergoing controlled ovarian stimulation. In contrast, FSHR/GPER heteromers triggered anti-apoptotic/proliferative FSH signaling delivered via the Gβγ dimer, whereas impairment of heteromer formation or GPER knockdown enhanced the FSH-dependent cell death and steroidogenesis. Therefore, our findings indicate how oocyte maturation depends on the capability of GPER to shape FSHR selective signals, indicating hormone receptor heteromers may be a marker of cell proliferation.
- Endocrine Regulation
- Female Reproductive Endocrinology
- Molecular Biology
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