Dissection of GnRH receptor-G protein coupling
White, Colin D.
Hypothalamic gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) (GnRH I) is the central regulator of the mammalian reproductive system. Most vertebrates studied also possess a second form of GnRH, GnRH II. GnRH I acts on its cognate G proteincoupled receptor (GPCR) on pituitary gonadotropes and activates Gq/11-mediated signalling pathways to stimulate the biosynthesis and the release of luteinising hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). Both GnRHs have also been suggested to inhibit cellular proliferation, an action which has largely been proposed to be mediated by the coupling of the receptor to Gi/o. However, the range of G proteins activated by the GnRH receptor and the signalling cascades involved in inducing antiproliferation remain controversial. To delineate the G protein coupling selectivity of the mammalian GnRH receptor and to identify the signalling pathways involved in GnRH I-mediated cell growth inhibition, I examined the ability of the receptor to interact with Gq/11, Gi/o and Gs in Gαq/11 knockout MEF cells. My results indicate that the receptor is unable to interact with Gi/o but can signal through Gq/11. Additionally, my data do not support the suggestion of GnRH receptor-Gs interaction. Furthermore, I show that the GnRH Iinduced inhibition of cell growth is dependent on Gq/11, src and extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK) but is independent of the activity of protein kinase C (PKC), Ca2+, jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK) or P38. Based on these findings and previous research within our group, I propose a mechanism whereby GnRH I may induce antiproliferation. Previous studies from our laboratory suggest that the GnRH receptor can adopt distinct active conformations in response to the binding of GnRH I and GnRH II. These data thus account for our hypothesis of ligand-induced selective signalling (LiSS). Given my previous results, I examined the ability of the GnRH receptor to couple to G12/13. My work indicates that the receptor can directly activate G12/13 and the downstream signalling cascades associated with this G protein family. Indeed, I provide evidence, in several cellular backgrounds, to suggest that GnRH receptor- G12/13-mediated signalling is involved in the regulation of GnRH-induced MAPK activity, SRE-driven gene transcription and cytoskeletal reorganisation. Furthermore, I propose a role for these G proteins in the transcriptional regulation of LHβ and FSHβ. Finally, I confirm previous results from our laboratory indicating that the GnRH receptor may interact with src Tyr kinase and show that GnRH I but not GnRH II may, independently of Gq/11, stimulate the Tyr phosphorylation and thus the activation of this protein. I propose that this differential signalling accounts for the distinct effects of GnRH I and GnRH II on cellular morphology and SREpromoted transcriptional activity. The research presented within this thesis provides evidence to refute published conclusions based on largely circumstantial experimental data, describes novel GnRH receptor signalling pathways and offers support for the concept of LiSS. It may assist in the development of new therapeutic compounds which selectively target one GnRH-mediated signalling pathway while bypassing others.