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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 1990 Jul 30;72(1):63-70.

Conformation of the alpha-subunit of glycoprotein hormones: a study using polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies.

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Department of Biochemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.


The conformation of the common alpha-subunit of human glycoprotein hormones, luteinizing hormone (hLH), follicle-stimulating hormone (hFSH), thyroid-stimulating hormone (hTSH) and chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) was probed using a highly specific polyclonal antiserum against the alpha-subunit of hCG and several monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) produced against hCG which recognized the alpha-subunit in free and combined form. The alpha-subunit was found to be conformationally altered (compared to its conformation in the isolated state) when it was in combination with various beta-subunits as indicated by shifts in the displacement curves of binding of [125I]hCG alpha to the polyclonal antiserum. The extent of the change was dependent on the beta-subunit present with minimum change being observed with hLH beta, intermediate with hCG beta and maximum change with hFSH and TSH beta-subunits. However, the affinity constants of this antiserum for all four hormones were nearly similar. Further, it was also found that binding of any one of the glycoprotein hormones to this antibody could be completely inhibited by any other hormone suggesting that the conformation of the alpha-subunit in all the four hormones is probably very similar. This was further investigated using five hCG MAbs capable of recognizing the alpha-subunit, but with different epitope specificities. All these MAbs could recognize all the four hormones suggesting the presence of the epitopes in these proteins. These epitopes were conformation specific since the MAbs did not bind reduced and carboxymethylated alpha-subunit. Displacement analysis using [125I]hCG as the tracer showed that two epitopes have nearly the same conformation in all the four hormones, while two were partially modified depending on the beta-subunit present. Based on these results, it is concluded that the alpha-subunit of glycoprotein hormones has nearly the same conformation, though subtle differences do exist.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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