Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

, Volume 32, Issue 12, pp 1741–1747 | Cite as

Regulation of FOXO3 subcellular localization by Kit ligand in the neonatal mouse ovary

  • M. Max Ezzati
  • Michael D. Baker
  • Hatice D. Saatcioglu
  • Gina M. Aloisio
  • Christopher G. Pena
  • Yuji Nakada
  • Ileana Cuevas
  • Bruce R. Carr
  • Diego H. Castrillon
Reproductive Physiology and Disease



Foxo3 protein is required in the oocyte nucleus for the maintenance of primordial follicles in a dormant state. PI3K/AKT-dependent phosphorylation of Foxo3 leads to its relocalization to the cytoplasm and subsequent follicular activation. However, the nature of the upstream signals controlling Foxo3 activity and subcellular localization remains unknown. We aimed to study the in vitro effects of Kit ligand (stem cell factor) on the subcellular localization of Foxo3 in primordial follicles within the postnatal mouse ovary.


This was an in vitro study using explants of intact neonatal mouse ovaries. The study was performed in laboratory animal facility and basic science research laboratory at a University Hospital. The animals used for this study were FVB mice. Neonatal FVB mice ovaries at postnatal day 7 (PD7) were harvested and incubated in culture medium (DMEM) at 37 °C and 5 % CO2 for 60–90 min with (n = 3) or without (n = 3) Kit ligand at 150 ng/mL (8 nM). Similar experimental conditions were used to establish a dose–response curve for the effects of Kit ligand and assess the effects of imatinib (small molecule inhibitor of the Kit receptor). Immunofluorescence was used to identify the subcellular location of Foxo3 in oocytes. Proportions of cytoplasmic versus nuclear Foxo3 in primordial follicles were determined.


Kit ligand treatment increased the cytoplasmic localization of Foxo3 from 40 % in the untreated ovaries to 74 % in the treated group (p = 0.007 in paired samples and p = 0.03 in unpaired samples). Furthermore, this effect was reversible with imatinib (p = 0.005). A dose–response curve for Kit ligand treatment showed that maximum effect was seen at 150 ng/mL.


Kit ligand treatment in vitro increases the proportion of cytoplasmic Foxo3 in primordial follicles at PD7, lending support to the idea that Kit receptor/ligand controls Foxo3 activity in the context of primordial follicle activation


Primordial follicle Foxo3 Kit Kit ligand Stem cell factor 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


This work was supported by NICHD R01 HD048690 grant to D.H.C.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Max Ezzati
    • 1
    • 3
  • Michael D. Baker
    • 2
  • Hatice D. Saatcioglu
    • 2
  • Gina M. Aloisio
    • 2
  • Christopher G. Pena
    • 2
  • Yuji Nakada
    • 2
  • Ileana Cuevas
    • 2
  • Bruce R. Carr
    • 1
  • Diego H. Castrillon
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical CenterDallasUSA
  2. 2.Department of PathologyUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical CenterDallasUSA
  3. 3.Palo Alto Medical FoundationPalo AltoUSA

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