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Mol Endocrinol. 2009 Jan;23(1):100-12. doi: 10.1210/me.2008-0071. Epub 2008 Oct 30.

GNRH induces the unfolded protein response in the LbetaT2 pituitary gonadotrope cell line.

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Department of Reproductive Medicine, Mail Code 0674, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0674, USA.


The neuropeptide GNRH 1 stimulates the secretion of the reproductive hormone LH in pituitary gonadotropes. Other secretory cell types depend on the unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway to regulate protein synthesis and protect against endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in response to differentiation or secretory stimuli. This study investigated the role of the UPR in GNRH action within the LbetaT2 gonadotrope model. Cells were treated with GNRH, and the activation of UPR signaling components and general translational status was examined. The ER-resident stress sensors, Atf6, Eif2ak3, and Ern1, are all present, and GNRH stimulation results in the phosphorylation of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2A kinase 3 and its downstream effector, eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2A. Additionally, activation of the UPR was confirmed both in LbetaT2 as well as mouse primary pituitary cells through identifying GNRH-induced splicing of Xbp1 mRNA, a transcription factor activated by splicing by the ER stress sensor, ER to nucleus signaling 1. Ribosome profiling revealed that GNRH stimulation caused a transient attenuation in translation, a hallmark of the UPR, remodeling ribosomes from actively translating polysomes to translationally inefficient ribonucleoprotein complexes and monosomes. The transient attenuation of specific mRNAs was also observed. Overall, the results show that GNRH activates components of the UPR pathway, and this pathway may play an important physiological role in adapting the ER of gonadotropes to the burden of their secretory demand.

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