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Endocrinology. 1986 Aug;119(2):455-63.

Differential sulfation and sialylation of secreted mouse thyrotropin (TSH) subunits: regulation by TSH-releasing hormone.


To determine whether sulfate and/or sialic acid are present on secreted mouse TSH, thyrotropic tumor minces and hypothyroid pituitaries were incubated with [3H]methionine and [35S]sulfate, or [35S]methionine and [3H]N-acetylmannosamine. The metabolically labeled TSH and free alpha-subunits were then analyzed by gel electrophoresis. [3H]N-Acetylmannosamine was a specific precursor (greater than 80%) for the sialic acid [3H]N-acetylneuraminic acid, as established by HPLC characterization of tritium label released by acid hydrolysis. Each of the three secreted subunits (TSH alpha, TSH beta, and free alpha) incorporated both sulfate and sialic acid. The incorporation of these labels was confirmed by the release of [35S]sulfate by endoglycosidase F and of [3H]N-acetylneuraminic acid by neuraminidase. Differential labeling of newly synthesized secreted TSH subunits was observed. In secreted TSH dimer, TSH beta incorporated 1.3 times more [35S]sulfate (P less than 0.05) and 2.5 times more [3H] N-acetylmannosamine (P less than 0.02) per carbohydrate chain than did TSH alpha. Secreted free alpha-subunit incorporated more [3H]N-acetylmannosamine, but less [35S]sulfate, then did secreted TSH alpha. To investigate the effect of TRH on TSH sulfation and sialylation, thyrotropic tumor minces and hypothyroid pituitaries were incubated with [35S]sulfate or [3H]N-acetylmannosamine, with or without 10(-7) M TRH; labeling was then normalized in each case to incorporation of [3H]mannose, a marker of the inner core sugars. TSH secreted in the presence of TRH had a lower sulfate to mannose ratio [28 +/- (+/- SE) 4% of control; P less than 0.05] and a lower sialic acid to mannose ratio (63 +/- 8% of control; P less than 0.05). TSH alpha and TSH beta were affected equally. No change was seen in the labeling of non-TSH secretory proteins. Differential glycoprotein sulfation and sialylation may, in part, explain the previously observed variability in isoelectric point, bioactivity, and MCR of TSH in different physiological states and may represent a point of regulation by TRH.

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