Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2014

Capstone Advisor

Dr. Melissa E. Pepling

Honors Reader

Dr. Eleanor M. Maine

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Sciences and Engineering

Subject Categories

Biology | Cell and Developmental Biology


There are thought to be many different causes that can lead to the development of infertility in females. Many of the causes for this condition present themselves before birth, which can predetermine a woman’s fertility capability before she is even born. The complex process of germ cell development possesses possibilities for error and malfunction that can have permanent, lasting effects on a developing fetus. The process of oocyte development is initiated when primordial germ cells migrate to the embryotic gonad and begin dividing mitotically. As mitosis proceeds, the process of cytokinesis does not go to completion, which maintains the cells in cysts. The fundamental process of cyst breakdown occurs, in conjunction with apoptosis, in order to separate cysts into individual oocytes surrounded by a number of granulosa cells, known as primordial follicles. The success of the process of cyst breakdown is thought to be a valuable determinant of the overall pool of viable primordial follicles that could be used by a female for fertilization in the future. This developmental process is well conserved across mammalian species, such as mice and humans.

Hormones are known to play a role in the process of germ cell development via various signaling pathways. Abundant research has already been conducted to investigate the role of estrogen in this developmental process, specifically exploring the hormone’s ability to inhibit cyst breakdown. Similar research has demonstrated progesterone’s ability to inhibit cyst breakdown, as well, but much more is yet to be investigated about this steroid hormone. Although specific progesterone signaling receptors, such as progesterone receptor membrane component 1 (PGRMC1) and PGRMC2, and proteins, such as the plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 RNA-binding protein (PAIRBP1), have been identified, their regulatory functions and interactions within their prospective signaling pathways have yet to be well researched. In this study, we investigated where PGRMC1, PGRMC2 and PAIRBP1 were expressed in the fetal and neonatal mouse ovary via immunocytochemistry. We also investigated when PGRMC1, PGRMC2 and PAIRBP1 were most strongly expressed in the mouse ovary across germ cell development via western blotting.

The results demonstrate that the expression of PGRMC1 and PAIRBP1 localize to the same cells within the mouse ovary, but exhibit different levels of expression across fetal and neonatal mouse development. In regards to PGRMC2, the results reveal a complete lack of expression of this membrane receptor in the mouse ovary at any time throughout the process of germ cell development. In order to validate and expand on these results future studies will need to be conducted to gain more information about the independent and interactive functions of PGRMC1, PGRMC2 and PAIRBP1 in germ cell development.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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