Steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR), proposed to be involved in the transport of cholesterol to the inner mitochondrial membrane, has recently been cloned from MA-10 cells. Using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, we generated a complementary DNA encoding 404 base pairs of StAR from ovine luteal tissue to perform studies regarding regulation of the messenger RNA (mRNA) encoding this protein. In Exp 1, ewes were hypophysectomized (HPX) on day 5 of the estrous cycle and administered saline or physiological regimens of LH and/or GH until collection of luteal tissue on day 12 of the estrous cycle (n = 4/group). Luteal concentrations [mean ± SEM; femtomoles per microgram poly(A)+ RNA] of mRNA encoding StAR were lower (P < 0.05) in the HPX plus saline-treated ewes (26.4 ± 7.3) than in day 12 pituitary-intact ewes (n = 4; 77.7 ± 9.3). Replacement of LH (59.1 ± 13.1), GH (59.1 ± 12.8), or LH and GH (69.9 ± 4.5) in HPX ewes increased (P < 0.05) concentrations of mRNA encoding StAR to values not different from those in day 12 controls. In Exp 2, ewes on day 11 or 12 of the estrous cycle were injected with prostaglandin F2 alpha (PGF2 alpha) to induce luteal regression. Corpora lutea were collected 4, 12, or 24 h after injection (n = 4-5/time point) and from untreated control ewes (n = 4) or 24 h after injection of saline (n = 4). Treatment with PGF2 alpha decreased (P < 0.05) concentrations of progesterone in serum 4, 12, and 24 h after injection. Concentrations of StAR mRNA were decreased (P < 0.01) to 47%, 19%, and 8% of control values 4, 12, and 24 h after PGF2 alpha injection, respectively. In Exp 3, ewes received ovarian arterial infusions of saline, PGF2 alpha, or phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), and luteal tissue was collected 0 (no infusion), 4, 12, or 24 h later (n = 3-4/group). Treatment with PGF2 alpha or PMA decreased (P < 0.05) concentrations of progesterone in serum 4, 12, and 24 h postinjection. Steady state concentrations of mRNA encoding StAR (P < 0.05) were 36% and 25% of the control value 12 and 24 h after PGF2 alpha injection. Injection of PMA decreased (P < 0.05) concentrations of StAR mRNA to 75% and 50% of control values at 4 and 12 h, but concentrations of mRNA encoding StAR were not different from control values at 24 h.
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