Send to

Choose Destination
Endocrinology. 2012 Apr;153(4):1841-9. doi: 10.1210/en.2011-1668. Epub 2012 Jan 31.

Evidence for differential regulation of GnRH signaling via heterodimerization among GnRH receptor paralogs in the protochordate, Ciona intestinalis.

Author information

Bioorganic Research Institute, Suntory Foundation for Life Sciences, Osaka 618-8503, Japan.


The endocrine and neuroendocrine systems for reproductive functions have diversified as a result of the generation of species-specific paralogs of peptide hormones and their receptors including GnRH and their receptors (GnRHR), which belong to the class A G protein-coupled receptor family. A protochordate, Ciona intestinalis, has been found to possess seven GnRH (tGnRH-3 to -8 and Ci-GnRH-X) and four GnRHR (Ci-GnRHR1 to -4). Moreover, Ci-GnRHR4 (R4) does not bind to any Ciona GnRH and activate any signaling pathways. Here we show novel functional diversification of GnRH signaling pathways via G protein-coupled receptor heterodimerization among Ciona GnRHR. R4 was shown to heterodimerize with R2 specifically in test cells of vitellogenic oocytes by coimmunoprecipitation. The R2-R4 heterodimerization in human embryonic kidney 293 cells cotransfected with R2 and R4 was also observed by coimmunoprecipitation and fluorescent energy transfer analyses. Of particular interest is that the R2-R4 heterodimer decreases the cAMP production in a nonligand-selective manner via shift of activation of Gs protein to Gi protein by R2, compared with R2 monomer/homodimer. Considering that the R1-R4 heterodimer elicits 10-fold more potent Ca²⁺ mobilization than R1 monomer/homodimer in a ligand-selective manner but does not affect cAMP production, these results indicate that R4 regulates differential GnRH signaling cascades via heterodimerization with R1 and R2 as an endogenous allosteric modulator. Collectively, the present study suggests that the heterodimerization among GnRHR paralogs, including the species-specific orphan receptor subtype, is involved in rigorous and diversified GnRHergic signaling of the protochordate, which lacks a hypothalamus-pituitary gonad axis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center