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Growth Horm IGF Res. 2016 Jun;28:6-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ghir.2015.06.001. Epub 2015 Jun 7.

The growth hormone receptor.

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Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland, St Lucia 4072, Australia. Electronic address:


Once thought to be present only in liver, muscle and adipose tissue, the GH receptor is now known to be ubiquitously distributed, in accord with the many pleiotropic actions of GH. These include the regulation of metabolism, postnatal growth, cognition, immune, cardiac and renal systems and gut function. GH exerts these actions primarily through alterations in gene expression, initiated by activation of its membrane receptor and the resultant activation of the associated JAK2 (Janus kinase 2) and Src family kinases. Receptor activation involves hormone initiated movements within a receptor homodimer, rather than simple receptor dimerization. We have shown that binding of the hormone realigns the orientation of the two receptors both by relative rotation and by closer apposition just above the cell membrane. This is a consequence of the asymmetric placement of the binding sites on the hormone. Binding results in a conversion of parallel receptor transmembrane domains into a rotated crossover orientation, which produces separation of the lower part of the transmembrane helices. Because the JAK2 is bound to the Box1 motif proximal to the inner membrane, receptor activation results in separation of the two associated JAK2s, and in particular the removal of the inhibitory pseudokinase domain from the kinase domain of the other JAK2 (and vice versa). This brings the two kinase domains into position for trans-activation and initiates tyrosine phosphorylation of the receptor cytoplasmic domain and other substrates such as STAT5, the key transcription factor mediating most genomic actions of GH. There are a limited number of genomic actions initiated by the Src kinase family member which also associates with the upper cytoplasmic domain of the receptor, including important immune regulatory actions to dampen exuberant innate immune activation of cells involved in transplant rejection. These findings offer insights for developing specific receptor antagonists which may be valuable in cancer therapy.


JAK2; Mechanism; Receptor structure; STAT5; Src

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