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Death Processes In Bovine Theca And Granulosa Cells Modelled And Analysed Using A Systems Biology Approach

Malgorzata J. McEvoy, Emilia Sinderewicz, Leo Creedon, Marion McAfee, Agnieszka W. Jonczyk, Katarzyna K. Piotrowska-Tomala, Dariusz J. Skarzynski

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In this paper, newly discovered mechanisms of atresia and cell death processes in bovine ovarian follicles are investigated. For this purpose the mRNA expression of receptor interacting protein kinases 1 and 3 (RIPK1 and RIPK3) of the granulosa and theca cells derived from healthy and atretic follicles are studied. The follicles were assigned as either healthy or atretic based on the estradiol to progesterone ratio. A statistically significant difference was recorded for the mRNA expression of a RIPK1 and RIPK3 between granulosa cells from healthy and atretic follicles. To further investigate this result a systems biology approach was used. The genes playing roles in necroptosis, apoptosis and atresia were chosen and a network was created based on human genes annotated by the IMEx database in Cytoscape to identify hubs and bottle-necks. Moreover, correlation networks were built in the Cluepedia plug-in. The networks were created separately for terms describing apoptosis and programmed cell death. We demonstrate that necroptosis (RIPK—dependent cell death pathway) is an alternative mechanism responsible for death of bovine granulosa and theca cells. We conclude that both apoptosis and necroptosis occur in the granulosa cells of dominant follicles undergoing luteinisation and in the theca cells from newly selected follicles.