BMP15 and GDF9 are two proteins secreted by oocytes which are critical for maintaining an optimal 2-way communication/signalling axis between an oocyte and the surrounding granulosa cells. Such signalling interactions are central to the production of a developmentally competent oocyte. The study of BMP15/GDF9 is important not only from the point of view of reproductive biology applications, but also for what such studies reveals about the action of members of the TGF family of proteins, to which BMP15 & GDF9 belong. In this presentation I will focus on our previous studies of the synergistic interactions of these two proteins which lead to the realization that such synergism was based on the formation of a heterodimer of BMP15 & GDF9 monomeric subunits, a form of these proteins which we refer to as cumulin. Potential applications of this protein go beyond the realm of infertility treatment to include regenerative medicine.
Dr David Mottershead has been studying the BMP15/GDF9 proteins since 2001, initially in Helsinki, Finland, followed by the establishment of the lab in Adelaide, Australia where cumulin was first produced. Since January 2016 he has been located at the School of Pharmacy, Keele University, UK.