Author(s): Costagliola S, Urizar E, Mendive F, Vassart G
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Abstract The dichotomy between hormone recognition by the ectodomain and activation of the G protein by the rhodopsin-like serpentine portion is a well established property of glycoprotein hormone receptors. The specificity barrier avoiding promiscuous activation of the FSH receptor by the high concentration of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) prevailing during human pregnancy was thus believed to lie in the ectodomain. In the past two years, mutations responsible for rare spontaneous cases of ovarian hyperstimulation syndromes have partially modified this simple view. Five naturally occurring mutations have been identified which cause an increase in the sensitivity of the FSH receptor to hCG. Surprisingly, these mutations are all located in the serpentine portion of the receptor. In addition to their effect on sensitivity to hCG, they increase sensitivity of the FSH receptor to TSH, and are responsible for activating the receptor constitutively. Together, the available information indicates that the ectodomain and the serpentine domain of the FSH receptor each contribute to the specificity barrier preventing its spurious activation by hCG. While the former is responsible for establishment of binding specificity, the latter introduces a novel notion of functional specificity. Recent data demonstrate that LH and FSH receptors can constitute functional homo- and heterodimers. This suggests the possibility that in cells co-expressing the two receptors, such as granulosa cells, the heterodimers might be endowed with functional characteristics different from those of each homodimer.
This article was published in Reproduction
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Case Reports