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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2008 Sep 10;291(1-2):11-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2008.05.009. Epub 2008 May 27.

New insights into the evolution of chorionic gonadotrophin.

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Institute of Reproductive Medicine, University Clinic Münster, Domagkstrasse 11, D-48149 Münster, Germany.


The glycoprotein hormones luteinizing hormone (LH) and chorionic gonadotrophin (CG) are crucial for reproduction, as LH induces sex hormone production and ovulation, and CG is essential for the establishment of pregnancy and fetal male sexual differentiation. Both consist of two heterodimeric peptides of which the alpha-subunit is common to both hormones whereas the beta-subunit is hormone-specific. The CGB gene was derived from LHB by gene duplication and frame shift mutation that led to a read-through into the formerly 3'-untranslated region, giving rise to the carboxyl-terminal peptide. Owing to nucleotide changes within the 5'-region of CGB, a new transcriptional start site and regulatory region was gained. These changes led to the specific expression of CGB in the placenta and its decrease in the pituitary. Recent findings on gonadotrophins led to an extended model for the sequence of events in the evolution of the CGB gene in primates and its tissue-specific expression.

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