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Biol Reprod. 1989 Jan;40(1):13-26.

The follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) receptor in testis: interaction with FSH, mechanism of signal transduction, and properties of the purified receptor.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Albany Medical College, New York 12208.


The follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) receptor purified from calf bovine testis membranes appears to be an oligomeric glycoprotein, consisting of 4 disulfide-linked monomers of molecular weight about 60,000 each. Polyclonal antibodies to the hormone binding sites of the receptor have been developed. FSH interaction with the receptor seems to involve multiple discrete binding regions, which include amino acids 34-37 and 49-52 of the human FSH beta subunit. The interaction between FSH and the membrane-bound receptor is reversible at low temperatures but becomes increasingly irreversible as the temperature increases. FSH interaction with the soluble receptor is reversible over a wider temperature range. The hydrophobic effect is a significant factor in the initial hormone receptor interaction in each system. FSH bound to membrane receptors on cultured immature rat Sertoli cells is internalized and degraded to the level of amino acids. Current evidence suggests that the membrane receptor may exist as free receptor, and complexed with G-protein. A functional receptor/G-protein/adenylate cyclase complex has been reconstituted in liposomes. The G-protein of testis membranes contains both high and low affinity guanosine triphosphate (GTP) binding sites. Both are capable of modulating FSH receptor binding, whereas only the high affinity sites seem to be required for activation of adenylate cyclase. Although testis membranes contain a phosphatidylinositide hydrolysis system, the latter is not directly influenced by FSH.

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