Receptor-mediated uptake of GnRH agonist and antagonists by cultured gonadotropes: evidence for differential intracellular routing.

PMID 3022254


The binding and uptake of the GnRH agonist D-Lys6-GnRH and of the antagonists [N-Ac-D-(pyro)-Cl-Phe1,2-D-Trp3-Lys6-D-Ala10]-GnRH and D-p-Glu1-D-Phe2-D-Trp3-D-Lys6-GnRH by dispersed pituitary gonadotropes was studied with electron microscopy. The peptides were coupled to colloidal gold markers with a diameter of 6 or 20 nm which were incubated separately or together for time periods between 15 and 180 min. Both antagonists could be found after 45 and 180 min at 37 degrees C in lysosomes as well as at the plasma membrane of gonadotropes. Co-incubation of both antagonists or of agonist and either antagonist resulted in uptake of the conjugates into separate lysosomes as well as mixed together into the same lysosome. Localization of the antagonists in structures associated with the Golgi apparatus was not observed at the time points studied. The results show that both GnRH agonist- and antagonist-conjugates are biologically active and that they are internalized by the gonadotropes via receptor mediated endocytosis. The failure to detect antagonist conjugates in the Golgi apparatus may indicate that passage through this organelle requires activation of the receptors by agonists and that the uptake of antagonist into lysosomes due to normal membrane protein turnover.