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J Mol Endocrinol. 2008 Oct;41(4):219-28. doi: 10.1677/JME-08-0030. Epub 2008 Jul 30.

A sea lamprey glycoprotein hormone receptor similar with gnathostome thyrotropin hormone receptor.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of New Hampshire, 46 College Road, Room 310, Durham, New Hampshire 03824, USA.


The specificity of the vertebrate hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal and hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axes is explained by the evolutionary refinement of the specificity of expression and selectivity of interaction between the glycoprotein hormones GpH (FSH, LH, and TSH) and their cognate receptors GpH-R (FSH-R, LH-R, and TSH-R). These two finely tuned signaling pathways evolved by gene duplication and functional divergence from an ancestral GpH/GpH-R pair. Comparative analysis of the protochordate and gnathostome endocrine systems suggests that this process took place prior or concomitantly with the emergence of the gnathostome lineage. Here, we report identification and characterization of a novel glycoprotein hormone receptor (lGpH-R II) in the Agnathan sea lamprey. This 781 residue protein was found approximately 43% identical with mammalian TSH-R and FSH-R representative sequences, and similarly with these two classes of mammalian receptors it is assembled from ten exons. A synthetic ligand containing the lamprey glycoprotein hormone beta-chain tethered upstream of a mammalian alpha-chain activated the lGpH-R II expressed in COS-7 cells but in a lesser extent than lGpH-R I. Molecular phylogenetic analysis of vertebrate GpH-R protein sequences suggests a closer relationship between lGpH-R II and gnathostome thyrotropin receptors. Overall, the presence and characteristics of the lamprey glycoprotein hormone receptors suggest existence of a primitive functionally overlapping glycoprotein hormone/glycoprotein hormone receptor system in this animal.

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