Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version



Molecular Endocrinology, December 2013, 27(12):2066–2079; doi: 10.1210/me.2013-1274


This article is a U.S. government work, and is not subject to copyright in the United States.


The present study investigated the induction and possible role of activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3) in the corpus luteum. Postpubertal cattle were treated at midcycle with prostaglandin F2α(PGF) for 0–4 hours. Luteal tissue was processed for immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, and isolation of protein and RNA. Ovaries were also collected from midluteal phase and first-trimester pregnant cows. Luteal cells were prepared and sorted by centrifugal elutriation to obtain purified small (SLCs) and large luteal cells (LLCs). Real-time PCR and in situ hybridization showed that ATF3 mRNA increased within 1 hour of PGF treatment in vivo. Western blot and immunohistochemistry demonstrated that ATF3 protein was expressed in the nuclei of LLC within 1 hour and was maintained for at least 4 hours. PGF treatment in vitro increased ATF3 expression only in LLC, whereas TNF induced ATF3 in both SLCs and LLCs. PGF stimulated concentration- and time-dependent increases in ATF3 and phosphorylation of MAPKs in LLCs. Combinations of MAPK inhibitors suppressed ATF3 expression in LLCs. Adenoviral-mediated expression of ATF3 inhibited LH-stimulated cAMP response element reporter luciferase activity and progesterone production in LLCs and SLCs but did not alter cell viability or change the expression or activity of key regulators of progesterone synthesis. In conclusion, the action of PGF in LLCs is associated with the rapid activation of stress-activated protein kinases and the induction of ATF3, which may contribute to the reduction in steroid synthesis during luteal regression. ATF3 appears to affect gonadotropinstimulated progesterone secretion at a step or steps downstream of PKA signaling and before cholesterol conversion to progesterone