Identification of Follicle-Stimulating Hormone-Selective β-Strands in the N-Terminal Hormone-Binding Exodomain of Human Gonadotropin Receptors

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Abstract

Glycoprotein hormone receptors contain large N-terminal extracellular domains (ECDs) that distinguish these receptors from most other G protein-coupled receptors. Each glycoprotein hormone receptor ECD consists of a curved leucine-rich repeat domain flanked by N- and C-terminal cysteine-rich regions. Selectivity of the different glycoprotein hormone receptors for their cognate hormones is exclusively determined by their ECDs and, in particular, their leucine-rich repeat domain. To identify human (h)FSH-selective determinants we used a gain-of-function mutagenesis strategy in which β-strands of the hLH receptor (hLH-R) were substituted with their hFSH receptor (hFSH-R) counterparts. Introduction of hFSH-R β-strand 1 into hLH-R conferred responsiveness to hFSH, whereas hLH-R mutants harboring one of the other hFSH-R β-strands displayed none or very limited sensitivity to hFSH. However, combined substitution of hFSH-R β-strand 1 and some of the other hFSH-R β-strands further increased the sensitivity of the mutant hLH-R to hFSH. The apparent contribution of multiple hFSH-R β-strands in providing a selective hormone binding interface corresponds well with their position in relation to hFSH as recently determined in the crystal structure of hFSH in complex with part of the hFSH-R ECD.

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