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PLoS One. 2013 Jul 18;8(7):e66852. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066852. Print 2013.

Gonadotrope-specific expression and regulation of ovine follicle stimulating hormone Beta: transgenic and adenoviral approaches using primary murine gonadotropes.

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Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Department of Neurology, New York City, New York, USA.


The beta subunit of follicle stimulating hormone (FSHB) is expressed specifically in pituitary gonadotropes in vertebrates. Transgenic mouse studies have shown that enhancers in the proximal promoter between -172/-1 bp of the ovine FSHB gene are required for gonadotrope expression of ovine FSHB. These enhancers are associated with regulation by activins and gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH). Additional distal promoter sequence between -4741/-750 bp is also required for expression. New transgenic studies presented here focus on this distal region and narrow it to 1116 bp between -1866/-750 bp. In addition, adenoviral constructs were produced to identify these critical distal sequences using purified primary mouse gonadotropes as an in vitro model system. The adenoviral constructs contained -2871 bp, -750 bp or -232 bp of the ovine FSHB promoter. They all showed gonadotrope-specific regulation since they were induced only in purified primary gonadotropes by activin A (50 ng/ml) and inhibited by GnRH (100 nM) in the presence of activin (except -232FSHBLuc). However, basal expression of all three viral constructs (in the presence of follistatin to block cellular induction by activin) was relatively high in pituitary non-gonadotropes as well as gonadotropes. Thus, gonadotrope-specific regulation associated with the proximal promoter was observed as expected, but the model was blind to distal promoter elements between -2871/-750 necessary for gonadotrope-specific expression of ovine FSHB in vivo. The new adenoviral-based in vitro technique did detect, however, a novel GnRH response element between -750 bp and -232 bp of the ovine FSHB promoter. We conclude that adenoviral-based studies in primary gonadotropes can adequately recognize regulatory elements on the ovine FSHB promoter associated with gonadotrope-specific regulation/expression, but that more physiologically based techniques, such as transgenic studies, will be needed to identify sequences between -1866/-750 bp of the ovine FSHB promoter that are also required for tissue/cell specific expression in vivo.

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