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The beta-subunits of luteinizing hormone (LH beta) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH beta) are differentially expressed, and this may contribute to the unique expression and storage patterns of LH and FSH. Therefore, to determine if the in vivo expression profile of FSH beta could be altered to that of LH beta, a truncated ovine FSH beta (oFSH beta) gene, which would encode a mRNA lacking the putative destabilizing 3' untranslated region, was fused downstream of the ovine LH beta (oLH beta) promoter and expressed in transgenic mice. In two independent lines, line 16 and 17, we measured oFSH beta, mouse LH beta (mLHbeta) and mouse FSH beta (mFSH beta) mRNA levels: (i) after castration in males; (ii) after administering inhibin to ovariectomized mice; and (iii) during the oestrous cycle. In each experiment, the expression profile of oFSH beta mRNA mimicked mLH beta and not mFSH beta mRNA. In addition, after actinomycin D treatment of pituitary cultures, while mFSH beta mRNA did decay, there was no measurable decay of the oFSH beta mRNA transcript. These differences increased total FSH beta steady-state mRNA expression levels in male transgenics. However, there was no detectable increase in pituitary FSH by either radioimmunoassay or western blotting analysis of pituitary extracts. Subsequent analysis revealed that pituitary FSH beta in line 16 was heavily glycosylated; in contrast, pituitary FSH beta in line 17 was largely unmodified. These differences in post-translational modification of the beta-subunit, and the lack of intracellular storage, contributed to increased plasma FSH levels and ovulation rate in line 16, but not line 17. In conclusion, the expression profile of oFSH beta mRNA was manipulated to mimic mLH beta mRNA and this increased FSH beta mRNA expression levels, but did not increase storage of FSH. This suggests that, regardless of the levels of synthesis, post-translational sorting preferentially promotes FSH secretion from the pituitary.

Original publication




Journal article


J Neuroendocrinol

Publication Date





50 - 62


Animals, Estrus, Female, Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Follicle Stimulating Hormone, Follicle Stimulating Hormone, beta Subunit, Gene Expression, Inhibins, Luteinizing Hormone, Male, Mice, Mice, Transgenic, Microscopy, Electron, Orchiectomy, Ovariectomy, Ovulation, Pituitary Gland, RNA, Messenger, Sheep, Transgenes