In recent years it became evident that several types of the luteinizing hormone/choriogonadotrophin receptor (LHCGR) exist. In addition to the classical receptor type known in rodents, an LHCGR type containing an additional exon is present in primates and humans. This specific exon 6A introduces a hitherto unknown regulatory pathway of the LHCGR at the transcriptional level which can lead to the expression of an alternative protein covering the extracellular part only. Furthermore, an LHCGR type lacking exon 10 at the mRNA and protein levels has been described in the New World primate lineage, giving rise to an additional receptor type in which amino acids of the extracellular hinge region connecting the leucine-rich repeat domain and transmembrane domain are missing.METHODS
Topic-related information was retrieved by systematic searches using Medline/PubMed. Structural homology models were retrieved from a glycoprotein hormone receptors web application and from recent publications.RESULTS
In a novel approach, we combine functional aspects with three-dimensional properties of the LHCGR and the different receptor types to deduce causative relationships between these two parameters. On this basis, the physiological impact and patho-physiological consequences of the different LHCGR types are inferred.CONCLUSIONS
The complex system of different LHCGR types and two corresponding hormones (LH and CG) represents a major challenge for future studies on selective hormone binding, signal transduction and receptor regulation. The presence of these naturally occurring LHCGR types requires re-examining of our present view on receptor function, experimental set-ups and data interpretation, but also offers new clinical approaches to interfere with LH/CG action in humans.