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Neuroendocrinology. 2013;97(2):115-31. doi: 10.1159/000337661. Epub 2012 Aug 25.

Identification and analysis of two novel sites of rat GnRH receptor gene promoter activity: the pineal gland and retina.

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Université Paris Diderot Paris 7, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Biologie Fonctionnelle et Adaptative, EAC CNRS 4413, Physiologie de l'Axe Gonadotrope, Paris, France.



In mammals, activation of pituitary GnRH receptor (GnRHR) by hypothalamic GnRH increases the synthesis and secretion of LH and FSH, which, in turn, regulate gonadal functions. However, GnRHR gene (Gnrhr) expression is not restricted to the pituitary.


To gain insight into the extrapituitary expression of Gnrhr, a transgenic mouse model that expresses the human placental alkaline phosphatase reporter gene driven by the rat Gnrhr promoter was created.


This study shows that the rat Gnrhr promoter is operative in two functionally related organs, the pineal gland, as early as embryonic day (E) 13.5, and the retina where activity was only detected at E17.5. Accordingly, Gnrhr mRNA were present in both tissues. Transcription factors known to regulate Gnrhr promoter activity such as the LIM homeodomain factors LHX3 and ISL1 were also detected in the retina. Furthermore, transient transfection studies in CHO and gonadotrope cells revealed that OTX2, a major transcription factor in both pineal and retina cell differentiation, is able to activate the Gnrhr promoter together with either CREB or PROP1, depending on the cell context.


Rather than using alternate promoters, Gnrhr expression is directed to diverse cell lineages through specific associations of transcription factors acting on distinct response elements along the same promoter. These data open new avenues regarding GnRH-mediated control of seasonal and circadian rhythms in reproductive physiology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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