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Expression of caspase 3 in ovarian follicle cells of the lizard Podarcis sicula

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In this study, our aim was to determine whether caspase 3 plays a role, during previtellogenesis, in the ovarian follicular epithelium of the lizard Podarcis sicula. We investigated the presence and localization of proform and active caspase 3 by enzyme assay, Western blotting and immunocytochemistry. In parallel, a fragment of caspase 3 was cloned for the first time in this species, sequenced and used for in situ hybridization to localize messengers and analysed by a phylogenetic survey to shed light on its homology with reptilian caspases. Results demonstrated that: (1) the follicle cells expressed a caspase of the 3/7 group and the mRNA for caspase 3 was transcribed in the stem phase and was completely translated during cell differentiation; (2) the proform protein was stored during the differentiated (nurse) stage and activated at the end of previtellogenesis provoking the degeneration of cells; (3) the predicted protein sequence, although partial, had a strong similarity with the known reptilian caspases 3. The epithelial cells of the ovarian follicle, therefore, do not employ caspase 3 during the nurse stage but, instead, prepare for apoptosis long before the process actually begins. The relevance of this strategy is discussed.

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Correspondence to Chiara Maria Motta.

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Tammaro, S., Simoniello, P., Ristoratore, F. et al. Expression of caspase 3 in ovarian follicle cells of the lizard Podarcis sicula . Cell Tissue Res 367, 397–404 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00441-016-2506-7

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  • Caspase 3 expression
  • Apoptosis and tissue differentiation
  • Caspase 3 activation
  • Ovarian follicular epithelium remodelling
  • Pyriform cells