This study showed near-universal expression of FSH receptors on a subgroup of tumor-vessel endothelial cells in a band near the outer edge of tumors where they interface with normal tissue. FSH receptors may be exploitable clinically for imaging and treatment delivery. The follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) receptor is a glycosylated transmembrane protein that binds FSH and belongs to the family of G-protein-coupled receptors. FSH, a key hormone in mammalian reproduction, is produced mainly in the anterior pituitary gland, and the target organs are the ovary and testis. In females, FSH stimulates follicular maturation and estrogen production through aromatization of androgens. 1 In males, FSH stimulates Sertoli-cell proliferation in immature testes and maintains normal spermatogenesis in adults. 2 In adult humans and animals, the FSH receptor is known to be expressed only in the testicular Sertoli cells and the ovarian granulosa cells, 3 , 4 and it . . .
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) plays a crucial role in the control of reproduction by specifically binding to and activating a membrane receptor (FSHR) that belongs to the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) family. Similar to all GPCRs, FSHR activation mechanisms have generally been viewed as a two-state process connecting a unique FSH-bound active receptor to the Gs/cAMP pathway. Over the last decade, paralleling the breakthroughs that were made in the GPCR field, our understanding of FSH actions at the molecular level has dramatically changed. There are numerous facts indicating that the active FSHR is connected to a complex signalling network rather than the sole Gs/cAMP pathway. Consistently, the FSHR probably exists in equilibrium between multiple conformers, a subset of them being stabilized upon ligand binding. Importantly, the nature of the stabilized conformers of the receptor directly depends on the chemical structure of the ligand bound. This implies that it is possible to selectively control the intracellular signalling pathways activated by using biased ligands. Such biased ligands can be of different nature: small chemical molecules, glycosylation variants of the hormone or antibody/hormone complexes. Likewise, mutations or polymorphisms affecting the FSHR can also lead to stabilization of preferential conformers, hence to selective modulation of signalling pathways. These emerging notions offer a new conceptual framework that could potentially lead to the development of more specific drugs while also improving the way FSHR mutants/variants are functionally characterized.
Although androgen excess is considered detrimental to women's health and fertility, global and ovarian granulosa cell-specific androgen-receptor (AR) knockout mouse models have been used to show that androgen actions through ARs are actually necessary for normal ovarian function and female fertility. Here we describe two AR-mediated pathways in granulosa cells that regulate ovarian follicular development and therefore female fertility. First, we show that androgens attenuate follicular atresia through nuclear and extranuclear signaling pathways by enhancing expression of the microRNA (miR) miR-125b, which in turn suppresses proapoptotic protein expression. Second, we demonstrate that, independent of transcription, androgens enhance follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) receptor expression, which then augments FSH-mediated follicle growth and development. Interestingly, we find that the scaffold molecule paxillin regulates both processes, making it a critical regulator of AR actions in the ovary. Finally, we report that low doses of exogenous androgens enhance gonadotropin-induced ovulation in mice, further demonstrating the critical role that androgens play in follicular development and fertility. These data may explain reported positive effects of androgens on ovulation rates in women with diminished ovarian reserve. Furthermore, this study demonstrates mechanisms that might contribute to the unregulated follicle growth seen in diseases of excess androgens such as polycystic ovary syndrome.
FSH, a glycoprotein hormone, and the FSH receptor (FSHR), a G protein-coupled receptor, play central roles in human reproduction. We report the crystal structure of FSH in complex with the entire extracellular domain of FSHR (FSHRED), including the enigmatic hinge region that is responsible for signal specificity. Surprisingly, the hinge region does not form a separate structural unit as widely anticipated but is part of the integral structure of FSHRED. In addition to the known hormone-binding site, FSHRED provides interaction sites with the hormone: a sulfotyrosine (sTyr) site in the hinge region consistent with previous studies and a potential exosite resulting from putative receptor trimerization. Our structure, in comparison to others, suggests FSHR interacts with its ligand in two steps: ligand recruitment followed by sTyr recognition. FSH first binds to the high-affinity hormone-binding subdomain of FSHR and reshapes the ligand conformation to form a sTyr-binding pocket. FSHR then inserts its sTyr (i.e., sulfated Tyr335) into the FSH nascent pocket, eventually leading to receptor activation.
The level of circulating follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) increases in women after menopause. A recent study in mouse models showed that FSH binds to its receptor on white adipocytes and results in a relatively low resting energy expenditure and increased adiposity.
Spermatogenesis is a concerted sequence of events duringmaturation of spermatogonia into spermatozoa. The process involves differential gene-expression and cell-cell interplay regulated by the key endocrine stimuli, i.e., follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH)-stimulated testosterone. FSH affects independently and in concert with testosterone, the proliferation, maturation and function of the supporting Sertoli cells that produce regulatory signals and nutrients for the maintenance of developing germ cells. Rodents are able to complete spermatogenesis without FSH stimulus, but its deficiency significantly decreases sperm quantity. Men carrying loss-of-function mutation in the gene encoding the ligand (FSHB) or its receptor (FSHR) present, respectively, with azoospermia or suppressed spermatogenesis. Recently, the importance of high intratesticular testosterone concentration for spermatogenesis has been questioned. It was established that it can be completed at minimal intratesticular concentration of the hormone. Furthermore, we recently demonstrated that very robust constitutive FSHR action can rescue spermatogenesis and fertility of mice even when the testosterone stimulus is completely blocked. The clinical relevance of these findings concerns a new strategy of high-dose FSH in treatment of spermatogenic failure.
Elevated follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) activity is proposed to directly cause bone loss independent of estradiol deficiency in aging women. Using transgenic female mice expressing human FSH (TgFSH), we now reveal that TgFSH dose-dependently increased bone mass, markedly elevating tibial and vertebral trabecular bone volume. Furthermore, TgFSH stimulated a striking accrual of bone mass in hypogonadal mice lacking endogenous FSH and luteinizing hormone (LH) function, showing that FSH-induced bone mass occurred independently of background LH or estradiol levels. Higher TgFSH levels increased osteoblast surfaces in trabecular bone and stimulated de novo bone formation, filling marrow spaces with woven rather than lamellar bone, reflective of a strong anabolic stimulus. Trabecular bone volume correlated positively with ovarian-derived serum inhibin A or testosterone levels in TgFSH mice, and ovariectomy abolished TgFSH-induced bone formation, proving that FSH effects on bone require an ovary-dependent pathway. No detectable FSH receptor mRNA in mouse bone or cultured osteoblasts or osteoclasts indicated that FSH did not directly stimulate bone. Therefore, contrary to proposed FSH-induced bone loss, our findings demonstrate that FSH has dose-dependent anabolic effects on bone via an ovary-dependent mechanism, which is independent of LH activity, and does not involve direct FSH actions on bone cells.
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is central to reproduction in mammals. It acts through a G-protein-coupled receptor on the surface of target cells to stimulate testicular and ovarian functions. We present here the 2.9-Angstrom-resolution structure of a partially deglycosylated complex of human FSH bound to the extracellular hormone-binding domain of its receptor (FSHRHB). The hormone is bound in a hand-clasp fashion to an elongated, curved receptor. The buried interface of the complex is large (2,600 Angstrom(2)) and has a high charge density. Our analysis suggests that all glycoprotein hormones bind to their receptors in this mode and that binding specificity is mediated by key interaction sites involving both the common alpha- and hormone-specific beta-subunits. On binding, FSH undergoes a concerted conformational change that affects protruding loops implicated in receptor activation. The FSH-FSHRHB complexes form dimers in the crystal and at high concentrations in solution. Such dimers may participate in transmembrane signal transduction.