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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2007 Jan 2;260-262:100-8. Epub 2006 Nov 2.

Transcriptional regulation of the FSH receptor: new perspectives.

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Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Kansas Medical Center, 3901 Rainbow Boulevard, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA.


The cell-surface receptor for the gonadotropin follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is expressed exclusively on Sertoli cells of the testis and granulosa cells of the ovary. FSH signal transduction through its receptor (Fshr) is critical for the timing and maintenance of normal gametogenesis in the mammalian gonad. In the 13 years since the gene encoding Fshr was first cloned, the mechanisms controlling its transcription have been extensively examined, but a clear understanding of what drives its unique cell-specificity remains elusive. Current knowledge of basal Fshr transcription highlights the role of an E-box in the proximal promoter which is bound by the basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors upstream stimulatory factor 1 (Usf1) and Usf2. Recent studies utilizing knockout mice and chromatin immunoprecipitation validated the importance of Usf to Fshr transcription and demonstrated a sexually dimorphic requirement for the Usf proteins to maintain normal Fshr expression. Studies have also shown that the promoter region itself is insufficient for appropriate Fshr expression in transgenic mice, indicating Fshr transcription depends on regulatory elements that lie outside of the promoter. Identification of such elements has been propelled by recent availability of genome sequence data, which facilitated studies using comparative genomics, DNase I hypersensitivity mapping, and transgenic analysis with large fragments of DNA. This review will focus on the current understanding of transcriptional regulatory processes that control expression of rat Fshr, including recent advances from our laboratory.

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