Two distinct pathways of pregranulosa cell differentiation support follicle formation in the mouse ovary

Published on Aug 18, 2020in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America9.412
· DOI :10.1073/PNAS.2005570117
Wanbao Niu1
Estimated H-index: 1
(CIS: Carnegie Institution for Science),
Allan C. Spradling90
Estimated H-index: 90
(CIS: Carnegie Institution for Science)
We sequenced more than 52,500 single cells from embryonic day 11.5 (E11.5) postembryonic day 5 (P5) gonads and performed lineage tracing to analyze primordial follicles and wave 1 medullar follicles during mouse fetal and perinatal oogenesis. Germ cells clustered into six meiotic substages, as well as dying/nurse cells. Wnt-expressing bipotential precursors already present at E11.5 are followed at each developmental stage by two groups of ovarian pregranulosa (PG) cells. One PG group, bipotential pregranulosa (BPG) cells, derives directly from bipotential precursors, expresses Foxl2 early, and associates with cysts throughout the ovary by E12.5. A second PG group, epithelial pregranulosa (EPG) cells, arises in the ovarian surface epithelium, ingresses cortically by E12.5 or earlier, expresses Lgr5, but delays robust Foxl2 expression until after birth. By E19.5, EPG cells predominate in the cortex and differentiate into granulosa cells of quiescent primordial follicles. In contrast, medullar BPG cells differentiate along a distinct pathway to become wave 1 granulosa cells. Reflecting their separate somatic cellular lineages, second wave follicles were ablated by diptheria toxin treatment of Lgr5-DTR-EGFP mice at E16.5 while first wave follicles developed normally and supported fertility. These studies provide insights into ovarian somatic cells and a resource to study the development, physiology, and evolutionary conservation of mammalian ovarian follicles.
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