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J Neurochem. 1999 Jan;72(1):40-50.

Structural and functional organization of the gene encoding the human thyrotropin-releasing hormone receptor.

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  • 1Institute of Medical Biochemistry, University of Oslo, Norway.


The thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) receptor (TRHR) is widely distributed throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. In addition to its role in controlling the synthesis and secretion of thyroid-stimulating hormone and prolactin from the anterior pituitary, TRH is believed to act as a neurotransmitter as well as a neuromodulator. We have isolated genomic lambda and P1-derived artificial chromosome clones encoding the human TRHR. The gene was found to be 35 kb with three exons and two introns. A 541-bp intron 1 (-629 to -89 relative to the translation start site) is conserved between human and mouse. A large intron 2 of 31 kb disrupts the open reading frame (starting in position +790) in the sequence encoding the supposed junction between the third intracellular loop and the putative sixth transmembrane domain. A similar intron was found in chimpanzee and sheep but not in rat and mouse. Promoter analysis of upstream regions demonstrated cell type-specific reporter activation, and sequencing of 2.5 kb of the promoter revealed putative cis-acting regulatory elements for several transcription factors that may contribute to the regulation of the TRHR gene expression. Functional analysis of potential response elements for the anterior pituitary-specific transcription factor Pit-1 revealed cell type-specific binding that was competed out with a Pit-1 response element from the GH gene promoter.

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