Characterization of an intrinsically fluorescent gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor and effects of ligand binding on receptor lateral diffusion.

PMID 9927328


The GnRH receptor (GnRHR) is a G protein-coupled receptor expressed by gonadotropes in the anterior pituitary gland. In the past several years, much has been learned about the structure-function relationships that exist in this receptor with regard to ligand binding and signal transduction. However, the lack of specific antibodies has precluded any analyses of the behavior of the unbound form of this receptor. We have constructed a functional GnRHR in which enhanced green fluorescent protein is fused to the carboxyl-terminus of the murine GnRHR. This fusion receptor was expressed diffusely throughout the cell, with approximately 38% of the fusion receptors colocalized with a plasma membrane marker in the gonadotrope-derived alphaT3 cell line, and approximately 82% of the fusion receptors colocalized with a membrane marker in Chinese hamster ovary cells. Furthermore, the fusion receptor displayed a Kd of 0.8 nM for iodinated des-Gly10,D-Ala-6-GnRH N-ethyl amide in Chinese hamster ovary cells, which was similar to the Kd of the native GnRHR expressed in alphaT3 cells. The surface mobility of the fusion protein was examined by fluorescence photobleaching recovery methods. In the unbound state the majority of the receptors were laterally mobile and displayed a lateral diffusion rate of 1.2-1.6 x 10(-9) cm2/sec. Binding of GnRH reduced the rate of lateral diffusion over 3-fold and reduced the fraction of mobile receptors from approximately 76-91% to 44-61%. Like GnRH, the competitive GnRH antagonist antide slowed the rate of receptor diffusion approximately 3-fold. In contrast to GnRH, antide had no effect on the fraction of mobile receptors. Thus, an intrinsically fluorescent GnRHR is trafficked to the plasma membrane of mammalian cells, is capable of ligand binding and signal transduction, and allows direct observation of the GnRHR in the nonligand-bound state. Furthermore, fluorescence photobleaching recovery analysis of the GnRHR-green fluorescent protein fusion reveals fundamental differences in the membrane dynamics of the GnRHR induced by the binding of an agonist vs. that induced by the binding of an antagonist.

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Antide, ≥97% (HPLC)