EP3 receptor isoforms are differentially expressed in subpopulations of primate granulosa cells and couple to unique G-proteins

Reproduction. 2013 Oct 21;146(6):625-35. doi: 10.1530/REP-13-0274. Print 2013 Dec.


Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) produced within the ovarian follicle is necessary for ovulation. PGE2 is recognized by four distinct G-protein-coupled receptors. Among them, PTGER3 (also known as EP3) is unique in that mRNA splicing generates multiple isoforms. Each isoform has a distinct amino acid composition in the C-terminal region, which is involved in G-protein coupling. To determine whether monkey EP3 isoforms couple to different G-proteins, each EP3 isoform was expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells, and intracellular signals were examined after stimulation with the EP3 agonist sulprostone. Stimulation of EP3 isoform 5 (EP3-5) reduced cAMP in a pertussis toxin (PTX)-sensitive manner, indicating involvement of Gαi. Stimulation of EP3-9 increased cAMP, which was reduced by the general G-protein inhibitor GDP-β-S, and also increased intracellular calcium, which was reduced by PTX and GDP-β-S. So, EP3-9 likely couples to both Gαs and a PTX-sensitive G-protein to regulate intracellular signals. Stimulation of EP3-14 increased cAMP, which was further increased by PTX, so EP3-14 likely regulates cAMP via multiple G-proteins. Granulosa cell expression of all EP3 isoforms increased in response to an ovulatory dose of human chorionic gonadotropin. Two EP3 isoforms were differentially expressed in functional subpopulations of granulosa cells. EP3-5 was low in granulosa cells at the follicle apex while EP3-9 was high in cumulus granulosa cells. Differential expression of EP3 isoforms may yield different intracellular responses to PGE2 in granulosa cell subpopulations, contributing to the different roles played by granulosa cell subpopulations in the process of ovulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CHO Cells
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Female
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Granulosa Cells / metabolism*
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Primates / genetics*
  • Primates / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Receptors, Prostaglandin E, EP3 Subtype / genetics*
  • Receptors, Prostaglandin E, EP3 Subtype / metabolism*


  • Protein Isoforms
  • Receptors, Prostaglandin E, EP3 Subtype
  • GTP-Binding Proteins