Notch signaling represses GATA4-induced expression of genes involved in steroid biosynthesis

Rajani M. George, Katherine L. Hahn, Jeffery Rawls, Robert S. Viger, Norma Wilson-Rawls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Notch2 and Notch3 and genes of the Notch signaling network are dynamically expressed in developing follicles, where they are essential for granulosa cell proliferation and meiotic maturation. Notch receptors, ligands, and downstream effector genes are also expressed in testicular Leydig cells, predicting a potential role in regulating steroidogenesis. In this study, we sought to determine if Notch signaling in small follicles regulates the proliferation response of granulosa cells to FSH and represses the up-regulation steroidogenic gene expression that occurs in response to FSH as the follicle grows. Inhibition of Notch signaling in small preantral follicles led to the up-regulation of the expression of genes in the steroid biosynthetic pathway. Similarly, progesterone secretion by MA-10 Leydig cells was significantly inhibited by constitutively active Notch. Together, these data indicated that Notch signaling inhibits steroidogenesis. GATA4 has been shown to be a positive regulator of steroidogenic genes, including STAR protein, P450 aromatase, and 3B-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase. We observed that Notch downstream effectors HEY1, HEY2, and HEYL are able to differentially regulate these GATA4-dependent promoters. These data are supported by the presence of HEY/HES binding sites in these promoters. These studies indicate that Notch signaling has a role in the complex regulation of the steroidogenic pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-394
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Embryology
  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Cell Biology


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