RAS-related protein 1: An estrogen-responsive gene involved in development and molting-mediated regeneration of the female reproductive tract in chickens

W. Jeong, H. Bae, W. Lim, F. W. Bazer, G. Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


It is important to identify molecular candidates involved in morphological and functional changes in the female reproductive system. We have discovered several candidate genes that were significantly altered in chick oviducts by exogenous estrogen and those candidates included dexamethasone (DEX)-induced RAS-related protein 1 (RASD1). RAS-related protein 1, a member of the Ras family of monomeric G proteins, is involved in various cellular processes including cell growth, proliferation and differentiation, as well as a cell-signaling protein regulating hormonal actions. Although the RASD1 gene was first identified as a DEX (a corticosteroid) inducible gene, there is evidence that it is also an estrogen-responsive gene. However, hormone-mediated expression and biological functions of RASD1 in the avian female reproductive system are poorly understood. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that RASD1 may be involved in the development and remodeling of the chicken reproductive system as an estrogen-responsive gene. Here we demonstrate differential expression of RASD1 gene and candidate microRNAs (miRNAs) targeting chicken RASD1 transcripts in chicken oviducts in response to diesthylstilbestrol (DES, a synthetic non-steroidal estrogen) and the estrogen-mediated molting process. Result of the present study indicated that expression of RASD1 messenger RNA (mRNA) increased in the developing oviducts of chicks treated with DES, particularly in the glandular (GE) and luminal (LE) epithelia of the magnum and the shell gland. Also, during induced molting by zinc feeding, RASD1 expression changed in concert with changes in concentrations of estrogen in blood of laying hens. Our results revealed that expression of RASD1 mRNA decreased as the oviduct regressed and then increased as the oviduct underwent re-growth and recrudescence in hens. Furthermore, RASD1 mRNA was expressed predominantly in GE and LE of the oviduct of laying hens during regeneration of the oviduct after induced molting, but not during the period of regression of the oviduct during molting. In addition, the relative expression of candidate miRNAs (miR-30a-5p, miR-30b-5p, miR-30c-5p and miR-30d) regulating RASD1 transcripts changed in response to estrogen stimulation of chick oviducts. These results indicate that transcription of the RASD1 gene and miRNAs regulating post-transcriptional aspects of expression of RASD1 are modulated by estrogen which is critical for growth, development, remodeling and maintenance of function of the chicken oviduct.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1594-1601
Number of pages8
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a Korea University Grant. The authors have declared no conflict of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Animal Consortium.


  • RAS-related protein 1
  • development
  • estrogen
  • microRNAs
  • oviduct

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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