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Mol Endocrinol. 1995 Feb;9(2):159-70.

Identification of the sites of N-linked glycosylation on the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) receptor and assessment of their role in FSH receptor function.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City 52242, USA.


The FSH receptor (FSHR) contains a large extracellular domain in which exist three potential sites for N-linked glycosylation. A truncated form of the FSHR representing only the extracellular domain was created and expressed in mammalian cells. We show that this truncated receptor is glycosylated, through the carbohydrates are not as fully processed as those of the full-length receptor. This truncated receptor, which remains intracellular, binds FSH with an affinity comparable to that of the full-length FSHR. Therefore, although other regions of the FSHR may contribute to hormone binding, the extracellular domain alone can confer high affinity binding. The above results suggest that N-linked FSHR carbohydrates may, in some way, be required for FSH binding. Therefore, further experiments, done in the context of the full-length receptor, were performed to determine the actual sites of glycosylation in the FSHR as well as to elucidate their role in the functions of the FSHR. Site-directed mutagenesis was done to individually or collectively disrupt the potential sites for N-linked glycosylation. Western blot analyses of the wild type vs. mutant receptors demonstrate that, of the three potential sites for N-linked glycosylation, Asn's 174 and 276 are actually glycosylated. Binding assays demonstrate that these two N-linked FSHR carbohydrates are redundant in function since carbohydrate at either Asn174 or Asn276 allows the receptor to be expressed on the cell surface and to bind FSH with normal affinity. However, FSH binding activity is not observed with nonglycosylated mutant receptors where both sites have been collectively disrupted. Similarly, when cells expressing the wild type FSHR were treated with tunicamycin to prevent N-linked glycosylation, the resulting nonglycosylated FSHR was not able to bind FSH. In contrast, normal high affinity binding of FSH was maintained when N-linked carbohydrates were enzymatically removed from wild type receptors. Our results demonstrate that while N-linked carbohydrates on the FSH receptor are not required directly for the binding of hormone, a carbohydrate at either Asn174 or Asn276 is required for the efficient folding of the nascent receptor protein into a conformation that allows high affinity binding of hormone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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