Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Human Genetics

First Advisor

Dr. Jerome F. Strauss III

Second Advisor

Dr. Maria Teves

Third Advisor

Dr. Devanand Sarkar


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the leading cause of anovulatory infertility and the most common endocrinopathy of women of reproductive age. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) identified a number of loci associated PCOS in different ethnic populations, including women with Asian and European ancestry. Replication studies have confirmed some of these associations. Among the loci identified are those located near the LH receptor gene (LHCGR), a clathrin-binding protein gene (DENND1A) that also functions as a guanine nucleotide exchange factor, and the gene encoding RAB5B, a GTPase and protein involved in vesicular trafficking. The functional significance of one of these GWAS candidates (DENND1A) was supported by our discovery that a truncated protein splice variant of DENND1A termed DENND1A.V2, is elevated in PCOS theca cells, and that forced expression of DENND1A.V2 in normal theca cells increased CYP11A1 and CYP17A1 expression and androgen synthesis, a hallmark of PCOS. We previously proposed that the PCOS GWAS loci could be assembled into a functional network that contributes to altered gene expression in ovarian theca cells, resulting in increased androgen synthesis. Here we demonstrate the localization of LHCGR, DENND1AV.2 and RAB5B proteins in various cellular compartments in normal and PCOS theca cells. hCG and forskolin stimulation affects the distribution and co-localization of DENND1A.V2 and RAB5B in various cellular compartments This cytological evidence supports our PCOS gene network concept, and raises the intriguing possibility that LHCGR activation, via a cAMP-mediated process, promotes the translocation of DENND1A.V2 and RAB5B-containing vesicles from the PCOS theca cell cytoplasm into the nucleus, resulting in increased transcription of genes involved in androgen synthesis.


© Rewa Kulkarni

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