Structural features of mammalian gonadotropins.

Department of Biological Sciences, Wichita State University, KS 67260-0026, USA.
Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology (Impact Factor: 4.04). 01/1997; 125(1-2):3-19. DOI: 10.1016/S0303-7207(96)03945-7
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT There are two species for which both pituitary and placental gonadotropins are readily available, humans and horses. The human gonadotropins are better characterized than equine gonadotropins. Nevertheless, the latter are very interesting because they provide exceptions to some of the general structure-function principles derived from studies on human and other mammalian gonadotropins. For example, separate genes encode the hLH beta and hCG beta subunits while a single gene encodes eLH beta and eCG beta. Thus, eCG and eLH differ only in their oligosaccharide moieties and eLH is the only LH that possesses the O-glycosylated C-terminal extension previously believed to be restricted to chorionic gonadotropins. Truncation experiments involving eLH beta and hCG beta have suggested the C-terminal extension has no effect on receptor binding. However, the largest of three eCG forms which differ only in the extent of O-glycosylation possessed reduced affinity for LH and FSH receptors. This result suggested that effects of O-glycosylation need to be considered when examining the glycosylation differences between eLH and eCG responsible for the 10-fold lower eCG receptor binding affinity compared with that of eLH. Contribution of alpha Asn56 N-linked oligosaccharides to the different biological activities of eLH and eCG has been evaluated following selective removal using peptide-N-glycanase digestion of native equine alpha-subunit preparations. Hormones-specific patterns of glycosylation were observed on alpha Asn56 of eLH, eFSH, and eCG. Removal of alpha Asn56 oligosaccharides increased the rate of subunit association, the extent of association, and receptor binding activity. Some unassociated alpha-subunit oligosaccharides were identified which may interfere with subunit association because they were more abundant in unassociated subunit oligosaccharide maps than in a total oligosaccharide map. This was most striking in the case of eCG alpha in which two minor peaks became the major oligosaccharide peaks detectable in the unassociated eCG alpha fraction following association with eLH beta and eFSH beta. The biological activities exhibited by hybrid hormones, eLH alpha reassociated with oLH beta and pLH beta, found to be greater than those of oLH and pLH provided an interesting exception to the general rule that the beta-subunit determines the potency of the heterodimer. LH receptor binding activities of eLH beta-chimeric ovine/equine alpha-subunits suggested that the equine alpha-subunit N-terminal domain may be responsible for this effect. Equine FSH has higher FSH receptor binding activity than human, ovine, and porcine FSH preparations. This probably results from two factors. First, the presence of the equine alpha-subunit promotes receptor binding as noted above. Second, the overall -2 charge of the eFSH beta determinant loop, which is less negative that the -3 observed in other species, results from the presence of an Asn residue at position 88 instead of Asp. This apparently facilitates binding to the FSH receptor.

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