Granulosa cell-expressed BMPR1A and BMPR1B have unique functions in regulating fertility but act redundantly to suppress ovarian tumor development

Mol Endocrinol. 2010 Jun;24(6):1251-66. doi: 10.1210/me.2009-0461. Epub 2010 Apr 2.


Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) have diverse roles in development and reproduction. Although several BMPs are produced by oocytes, thecal cells, and granulosa cells of developing follicles, the in vivo functions of most of these ligands are unknown. BMP signals are transduced by multiple type I and type II TGFbeta family receptors, and of the type I receptors, BMP receptor 1A (BMPR1A) and BMP receptor 1B (BMPR1B) are known to be expressed in rodent granulosa cells. Female mice homozygous null for Bmpr1b are sterile due to compromised cumulus expansion, but the function of BMPR1A in the ovary is unknown. To further decipher a role for BMP signaling in mouse granulosa cells, we deleted Bmpr1a in the granulosa cells of the ovary and found Bmpr1a conditional knockout females to be subfertile with reduced spontaneous ovulation. To explore the redundant functions of BMP receptor signaling in the ovary, we generated Bmpr1a Bmpr1b double-mutant mice, which developed granulosa cell tumors that have evidence of increased TGFbeta and hedgehog signaling. Thus, similar to SMAD1 and SMAD5, which have redundant roles in suppressing granulosa cell tumor development in mice, two type I BMP receptors, BMPR1A and BMPR1B, function together to prevent ovarian tumorigenesis. These studies support a role for a functional BMP signaling axis as a tumor suppressor pathway in the ovary, with BMPR1A and BMPR1B acting downstream of BMP ligands and upstream of BMP receptor SMADs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors, Type I / metabolism*
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / metabolism
  • Cumulus Cells / metabolism
  • Cumulus Cells / pathology
  • Estrous Cycle / physiology
  • Female
  • Fertility / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Granulosa Cells / metabolism*
  • Granulosa Cells / pathology
  • Hedgehog Proteins / metabolism
  • Hormones / blood
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Precancerous Conditions / metabolism*
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology
  • Precancerous Conditions / physiopathology
  • Signal Transduction


  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Hormones
  • Bmpr1a protein, mouse
  • Bmpr1b protein, mouse
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors, Type I