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New insights into implication of the SLIT/ROBO pathway in the prehierarchical follicle development of hen ovary.

  • Qin, N
  • Fan, X C
  • Zhang, Y Y
  • Xu, X X
  • Tyasi, T L
  • Jing, Y
  • Mu, F
  • Wei, M L
  • Xu, R F
Published Article
Poultry science
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2015
DOI: 10.3382/ps/pev185
PMID: 26188027


The SLIT/Roundabout (ROBO) pathway is involved in follicle development of mammalian ovary, and 2 secreted hormones activin A and inhibin A have potential roles in modulation of the SLIT/ROBO system, but the related actions remain poorly understood in bird. The aims of the present study were to examine the spatial and temporal expression of the SLIT ligand genes (SLIT1, SLIT2, and SLIT3) and their receptor ROBO1, ROBO2, ROBO3, and ROBO4 genes in various-sized prehierarchical follicles during hen ovary development and the effects of activin A and inhibin A on the expression of these genes in the cultured hen follicles. Our result demonstrated that the transcripts of the 3 SLIT genes were highly expressed in the developing follicles and expression patterns of the SLIT transcripts were different from those of ROBO genes detected by real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR. Both SLIT and ROBO transcripts were predominantly expressed in oocytes and granulosa cells from the prehierarchichal follicles examined by in situ hybridization. The localization for SLIT and ROBO proteins was revealed by immunohistochemistry similar to the spatial distribution of their transcript. In cultured follicles (4 to 8 mm in diameter), the expression levels of SLIT and ROBO members are hormonally regulated by activin A (10 ng/mL) and/or inhibin A (20 ng/mL) after treatment for 24 h. However, the expression of only SLIT2, SLIT3, and ROBO3 mRNA presented a directly opposite response to activin A and inhibin A hormones. These results indicate that SLIT/ROBO pathway is implicated in the prehierarchical follicular development of the hen ovary by an intrafollicular autocrine and/or paracrine action, and is influenced by activin A and inhibin A hormones.

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