Calcineurin mediates the gonadotropin-releasing hormone effect on expression of both subunits of the follicle-stimulating hormone through distinct mechanisms

Lilach Pnueli, Min Luo, Sihui Wang, Zvi Naor, Philippa Melamed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) regulates the expression of all three gonadotropin genes, encoding the commonα subunit (αGSU) and hormone-specific β subunits, through the activation of several signal transduction pathways. We have shown that GnRH also upregulates calcineurin, and we hypothesized that calcineurin mediates the effects of GnRH on the transcription of the αGSU and follicle-stimulating hormone β (FSHβ) genes through two of its targets: nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) and CREB-regulated transcription coactivator (TORC). We show that calcineurin is essential for GnRH-induced expression of both genes but that NFAT and TORC1 play quite distinct roles in activating each gene. GnRH induces calcineurindependent nuclear import of NFAT3, which activates the αGSU promoter, while TORC1 also mediates GnRH activation of this promoter, but not through CREB. GnRH initially stimulates the degradation of TORC1 but protects the N terminus of the newly synthesized protein to enhance its activity. Calcineurin induces Nur77 expression, likely via NFAT3, and Nur77 interacts synergistically with TORC1 and CREB to increase FSHβ promoter activity. Although TORC plays a role in the basal activity of the FSHβ promoter, it does not interact with phosphorylated CREB and probably does not play a major role in direct GnRH signaling to this gene. TORC may be part of an alternatively regulated pathway, possibly involving cross talk with other stimulatory hormones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5023-5036
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Volume31
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes

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