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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
Endogenous Kisspeptin Tone Is a Critical Excitatory Component of Spontaneous GnRH Activity and the GnRH Response to NPY and CART.
Neuroendocrinology
PUBLISHED: 06-22-2014
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Kisspeptin is the major excitatory regulator of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons and is responsible for basal GnRH/LH release and the GnRH/LH surge. Although it is widely assumed, based on mutations in kisspeptin and Kiss1R, that kisspeptin acts to sustain basal GnRH neuronal activity, there have been no studies to investigate whether endogenous basal kisspeptin tone plays a direct role in basal spontaneous GnRH neuronal excitability. It is also of interest to examine possible interactions between endogenous kisspeptin tone and other neuropeptides that have direct effects on GnRH neurons, such as neuropeptide Y (NPY) or cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART), since the activity of all these neuropeptides changes during states of negative energy balance.
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The Brugia malayi neuropeptide receptor-4 is activated by FMRFamide-like peptides and signals via G?i.
Mol. Biochem. Parasitol.
PUBLISHED: 06-03-2014
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Genetic studies undertaken in the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans have demonstrated the importance of neuropeptidergic signalling in nematode physiology. Disruption of this signalling may have deleterious phenotypic consequences, including altered locomotion, feeding behaviour, and reproduction. Neuropeptide G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) that transduce many of these signals therefore represent cogent drug targets. Recently published genomic sequencing data for a number of parasitic helminths of medical and veterinary importance has revealed the apparent conservation of a number of neuropeptides, and neuropeptide receptors between parasitic and free-living species, raising the intriguing possibility of developing broad-spectrum anthelmintic therapeutics. Here, we identify and clone a neuropeptide receptor, NPR-4, from the human filarial nematode Brugia malayi and demonstrate its activation in vitro, by FMRFamide-like peptides of the FLP-18 family, and intracellular signalling via G?i mediated pathways. These data represent the first example of deorphanisation of a neuropeptide GPCR in any parasitic helminth species.
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GnRH-Gemcitabine conjugates for the treatment of androgen-independent prostate cancer: pharmacokinetic enhancements combined with targeted drug delivery.
Bioconjug. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 04-03-2014
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Gemcitabine, a drug with established efficacy against a number of solid tumors, has therapeutic limitations due to its rapid metabolic inactivation. The aim of this study was the development of an innovative strategy to produce a metabolically stable analogue of gemcitabine that could also be selectively delivered to prostate cancer (CaP) cells based on cell surface expression of the Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone-Receptor (GnRH-R). The synthesis and evaluation of conjugated molecules, consisting of gemcitabine linked to a GnRH agonist, is presented along with results in androgen-independent prostate cancer models. NMR and ligand binding assays were employed to verify conservation of microenvironments responsible for binding of novel GnRH-gemcitabine conjugates to the GnRH-R. In vitro cytotoxicity, cellular uptake, and metabolite formation of the conjugates were examined in CaP cell lines. Selected conjugates were efficacious in the in vitro assays with one of them, namely, GSG, displaying high antiproliferative activity in CaP cell lines along with significant metabolic and pharmacokinetic advantages in comparison to gemcitabine. Finally, treatment of GnRH-R positive xenografted mice with GSG showed a significant advantage in tumor growth inhibition when compared to gemcitabine.
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Identification of a novel kisspeptin with high gonadotrophin stimulatory activity in the dog.
Neuroendocrinology
PUBLISHED: 02-11-2014
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Kisspeptin (KISS1) and its receptor (KISS1r) are essential for normal reproductive function in many species, but the role of kiss1/kiss1r signalling in the dog has not yet been elucidated. The aims of this study were to identify the canine kiss1 and kiss1r genes and to determine gonadotrophin and oestradiol stimulatory activity of KP-10, the shortest biologically active form of KISS1. Canine kiss1 and kiss1r genes were localized by comparing the reference dog genome with relevant human cDNA sequences, using BLASTn software. The amino acid sequence of canine KP-10 (YNWN V FGLR Y ) differs at two positions from human KP-10 (YNWN S FGLR F ). A single bolus of canine KP-10 was administered intravenously to anoestrous Beagle bitches in dosages of 0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.5, 1, 5, 10, and 30 ?g/kg. Blood samples were collected before and after canine KP-10 administration for the measurement of plasma luteinizing hormone (LH, all doses), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and oestradiol (1-30 ?g/kg). From 0.2 ?g/kg onwards, canine KP-10 resulted in a rapid and robust rise in plasma LH concentration (max. at 10 min). KP-10 also resulted in a rapid and robust rise in plasma FSH concentration (max. at 10-20 min). Plasma oestradiol concentration increased significantly after dosages of 1, 5, and 10 ?g/kg and reached a maximum at 60-90 min. In conclusion, canine KP-10 is a potent kisspeptin which elicits robust gonadotrophin and oestradiol responses in anoestrous bitches, suggesting that canine kiss1/kiss1r are cogent targets for modulating reproduction in dogs. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
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Kisspeptin regulation of genes involved in cell invasion and angiogenesis in first trimester human trophoblast cells.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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The precise regulation of extravillous trophoblast invasion of the uterine wall is a key process in successful pregnancies. Kisspeptin (KP) has been shown to inhibit cancer cell metastasis and placental trophoblast cell migration. In this study primary cultures of first trimester human trophoblast cells have been utilized in order to study the regulation of invasion and angiogenesis-related genes by KP. Trophoblast cells were isolated from first trimester placenta and their identity was confirmed by immunostaining for cytokeratin-7. Real-time quantitative RT-PCR demonstrated that primary trophoblast cells express higher levels of GPR54 (KP receptor) and KP mRNA than the trophoblast cell line HTR8Svneo. Furthermore, trophoblast cells also expressed higher GPR54 and KP protein levels. Treating primary trophoblast cells with KP induced ERK1/2 phosphorylation, while co-treating the cells with a KP antagonist almost completely blocked the activation of ERK1/2 and demonstrated that KP through its cognate GPR54 receptor can activate ERK1/2 in trophoblast cells. KP reduced the migratory capability of trophoblast cells in a scratch-migration assay. Real-time quantitative RT-PCR demonstrated that KP treatment reduced the expression of matrix metalloproteinase 1, 2, 3, 7, 9, 10, 14 and VEGF-A, and increased the expression of tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases 1 and 3. These results suggest that KP can inhibit first trimester trophoblast cells invasion via inhibition of cell migration and down regulation of the metalloproteinase system and VEGF-A.
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Quantitative serial MRI of the treated fibroid uterus.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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There are no long-term medical treatments for uterine fibroids, and non-invasive biomarkers are needed to evaluate novel therapeutic interventions. The aim of this study was to determine whether serial dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI) and magnetization transfer MRI (MT-MRI) are able to detect changes that accompany volume reduction in patients administered GnRH analogue drugs, a treatment which is known to reduce fibroid volume and perfusion. Our secondary aim was to determine whether rapid suppression of ovarian activity by combining GnRH agonist and antagonist therapies results in faster volume reduction.
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Kisspeptin, neurokinin B, and dynorphin act in the arcuate nucleus to control activity of the GnRH pulse generator in ewes.
Endocrinology
PUBLISHED: 08-19-2013
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Recent work has led to the hypothesis that kisspeptin/neurokinin B/dynorphin (KNDy) neurons in the arcuate nucleus play a key role in GnRH pulse generation, with kisspeptin driving GnRH release and neurokinin B (NKB) and dynorphin acting as start and stop signals, respectively. In this study, we tested this hypothesis by determining the actions, if any, of four neurotransmitters found in KNDy neurons (kisspeptin, NKB, dynorphin, and glutamate) on episodic LH secretion using local administration of agonists and antagonists to receptors for these transmitters in ovariectomized ewes. We also obtained evidence that GnRH-containing afferents contact KNDy neurons, so we tested the role of two components of these afferents: GnRH and orphanin-FQ. Microimplants of a Kiss1r antagonist briefly inhibited LH pulses and microinjections of 2 nmol of this antagonist produced a modest transitory decrease in LH pulse frequency. An antagonist to the NKB receptor also decreased LH pulse frequency, whereas NKB and an antagonist to the receptor for dynorphin both increased pulse frequency. In contrast, antagonists to GnRH receptors, orphanin-FQ receptors, and the N-methyl-D-aspartate glutamate receptor had no effect on episodic LH secretion. We thus conclude that the KNDy neuropeptides act in the arcuate nucleus to control episodic GnRH secretion in the ewe, but afferent input from GnRH neurons to this area does not. These data support the proposed roles for NKB and dynorphin within the KNDy neural network and raise the possibility that kisspeptin contributes to the control of GnRH pulse frequency in addition to its established role as an output signal from KNDy neurons that drives GnRH pulses.
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The physiology of cooperative breeding in a rare social canid; sex, suppression and pseudopregnancy in female Ethiopian wolves.
Physiol. Behav.
PUBLISHED: 08-12-2013
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Ethiopian wolves, Canis simensis, differ from other cooperatively breeding canids in that they combine intense sociality with solitary foraging, making them a suitable species in which to study the physiology of cooperative breeding. The reproductive physiology of twenty wild female Ethiopian wolves (eleven dominant and nine subordinate) in Ethiopias Bale Mountains National Park was studied non-invasively through the extraction and assaying of estradiol, progesterone and glucocorticoids in collected fecal samples using enzyme and radioimmunoassays. All dominant females showed increased estradiol concentrations and/or mating behavior during the annual mating season. In contrast, none of the subordinate females showed increased estradiol concentrations or mating behavior during the mating season. However, two subordinate females came into estrus outside of the mating season. Both dominant and subordinate females had higher average progesterone concentrations during the dominant females pregnancy than at other times of the year, and two subordinate females allosuckled the dominant females pups. No statistically significant differences in glucocorticoid concentrations were found between dominant and subordinate females. These results suggest that subordinate females are reproductively suppressed during the annual mating season, but may ovulate outside of the mating season and become pseudopregnant. No evidence was found to suggest that reproductive suppression in subordinate females was regulated through aggressive behaviors, and no relationship was found between fecal glucocorticoids and dominance status.
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Current and future applications of GnRH, kisspeptin and neurokinin B analogues.
Nat Rev Endocrinol
PUBLISHED: 07-02-2013
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Reproductive hormones affect all stages of life from gamete production, fertilization, fetal development and parturition, neonatal development and puberty through to adulthood and senescence. The reproductive hormone cascade has, therefore, been the target for the development of numerous drugs that modulate its activity at many levels. As the central regulator of the cascade, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists and antagonists have found extensive applications in treating a wide range of hormone-dependent diseases, such as precocious puberty, prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, endometriosis and uterine fibroids, as well as being an essential component of in vitro fertilization protocols. The neuroendocrine peptides that regulate GnRH neurons, kisspeptin and neurokinin B, have also been identified as therapeutic targets, and novel agonists and antagonists are being developed as modulators of the cascade upstream of GnRH. Here, we review the development and applications of analogues of the major neuroendocrine peptide regulators of the reproductive hormone cascade: GnRH, kisspeptin and neurokinin B.
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Reproductive physiology of a humanized GnRH receptor mouse model: application in evaluation of human-specific analogs.
Am. J. Physiol. Endocrinol. Metab.
PUBLISHED: 04-30-2013
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The human GnRH receptor (GNRHR1) has a specific set of properties with physiological and pharmacological influences not appropriately modeled in laboratory animals or cell-based systems. To address this deficiency, we have generated human GNRHR1 knock-in mice and described their reproductive phenotype. Measurement of pituitary GNRHR1 transcripts from homozygous human GNRHR1 knock-in (ki/ki) mice revealed a severe reduction (7- to 8-fold) compared with the mouse Gnrhr1 in wild-type mice. ¹²?I-GnRH binding assays on pituitary membrane fractions corroborated reduced human GNRHR1 protein expression in ki/ki mice, as occurs with transfection of human GNRHR1 in cell lines. Female homozygous knock-in mice displayed normal pubertal onset, indicating that a large reduction in GNRHR1 expression is sufficient for this process. However, ki/ki females exhibited periods of prolonged estrous and/or metestrous and reduced fertility. No impairment was found in reproductive maturity or adult fertility in male ki/ki mice. Interestingly, the serum LH response to GnRH challenge was reduced in both knock-in males and females, indicating a reduced GNRHR1 signaling capacity. Small molecules targeting human GPCRs usually have poor activities at homologous rodent receptors, thus limiting their use in preclinical development. Therefore, we tested a human-specific GnRH1 antagonist, NBI-42902, in our mouse model and demonstrated abrogation of a GnRH1-induced serum LH rise in ki/ki mice and an absence of effect in littermates expressing the wild-type murine receptor. This novel model provides the opportunity to study the human receptor in vivo and for screening the activity of human-specific GnRH analogs.
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Exploring the pathophysiology of hypogonadism in men with type 2 diabetes: kisspeptin-10 stimulates serum testosterone and LH secretion in men with type 2 diabetes and mild biochemical hypogonadism.
Clin. Endocrinol. (Oxf)
PUBLISHED: 04-19-2013
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Low serum testosterone is commonly observed in men with type 2 diabetes (T2DM), but the neuroendocrine pathophysiology remains to be elucidated.
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Kisspeptin antagonists.
Adv. Exp. Med. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 04-04-2013
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Kisspeptin is now known to be an important regulator of the hypothalamic--pituitary-gonadal axis and is the target of a range of regulators, such as steroid hormone feedback, nutritional and metabolic regulation. Kisspeptin binds to its cognate receptor, KISS1R (also called GPR54), on GnRH neurons and stimulates their activity, which in turn provides an obligatory signal for GnRH secretion-thus gating down-stream events supporting reproduction. The development of peripherally active kisspeptin antagonists could offer a unique therapeutic agent for treating hormone-dependent disorders of reproduction, including precocious puberty, endometriosis, and metastatic prostate cancer. The following chapter discusses the advances made in the search for both peptide and small molecule kisspeptin antagonists and their use in delineating the role of kisspeptin within the reproductive system. To date, four peptide antagonists and one small molecule antagonist have been designed.
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Reproductive neuropeptides: prevalence of GnRH and KNDy neural signalling components in a model avian, gallus gallus.
Gen. Comp. Endocrinol.
PUBLISHED: 03-04-2013
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Diverse external and internal environmental factors are integrated in the hypothalamus to regulate the reproductive system. This is mediated through the pulsatile secretion of GnRH into the portal system to stimulate pituitary gonadotrophin secretion, which in turn regulates gonadal function. A single subpopulation of neurones termed KNDy neurones located in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus co-localise kisspeptin (Kiss), neurokinin B (NKB) and dynorphin (Dyn) and are responsive to negative feedback effects of sex steroids. The co-ordinated secretion from KNDy neurones appears to modulate the pulsatile release of GnRH, acting as a proximate pacemaker. This review briefly describes the neuropeptidergic control of reproduction in the avian class, highlighting the status of reproductive neuropeptide signalling systems homologous to those found in mammalian genomes. Genes encoding the GnRH system are complete in the chicken with similar roles to the mammalian counterparts, whereas genes encoding Kiss signalling components appear missing in the avian lineage, indicating a differing set of hypothalamic signals controlling avian reproduction. Gene sequences encoding both NKB and Dyn signalling components are present in the chicken genome, but expression analysis and functional studies remain to be completed. The focus of this article is to describe the avian complement of neuropeptidergic reproductive hormones and provide insights into the putative mechanisms that regulate reproduction in birds. These postulations highlight differences in reproductive strategies of birds in terms of gonadal steroid feedback systems, integration of metabolic signals and seasonality. Also included are propositions of KNDy neuropeptide gene silencing and plasticity in utilisation of these neuropeptides during avian evolution.
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Improving the diagnosis and management of neuroendocrine tumors: utilizing new advances in biomarker and molecular imaging science.
Neuroendocrinology
PUBLISHED: 02-11-2013
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Neuroendocrine tumors (NET) are malignant solid tumors that arise in hormone-secreting tissue of the diffuse neuroendocrine system or endocrine glands. Although traditionally understood to be a rare disease, the incidence and prevalence of NET have increased greatly in the past 3 decades. However, during this time, progress in diagnosis and outcome of NET has generally been modest. In order to achieve improved outcome in NET, a better understanding of NET biology combined with more reliable serum markers and better techniques to identify tumor localization and small lesions are needed. Although some NET biomarkers exist, sensitive and specific markers that predict tumor growth and behavior are generally lacking. In addition, the integration of new molecular imaging technologies in patient diagnosis and follow-up has the potential to enhance care. To discuss developments and issues required to improve diagnostics and management of NET patients, with specific focus on the latest advances in molecular imaging and biomarker science, 17 global leaders in the fields of NET, molecular imaging and biomarker technology gathered to participate in a 2-day meeting hosted by Prof. Kjell Öberg at the University of Uppsala in Sweden. During this time, findings were presented regarding methods with potential prognostic and treatment applications in NET or other types of cancers. This paper describes the symposium presentations and resulting discussions.
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Kisspeptin signaling is required for the luteinizing hormone response in anestrous ewes following the introduction of males.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-29-2013
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The introduction of a novel male stimulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis of female sheep during seasonal anestrus, leading to the resumption of follicle maturation and ovulation. How this pheromone cue activates pulsatile secretion of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH)/luteinizing hormone (LH) is unknown. We hypothesised that pheromones activate kisspeptin neurons, the product of which is critical for the stimulation of GnRH neurons and fertility. During the non-breeding season, female sheep were exposed to novel males and blood samples collected for analysis of plasma LH profiles. Females without exposure to males served as controls. In addition, one hour before male exposure, a kisspeptin antagonist (P-271) or vehicle was infused into the lateral ventricle and continued for the entire period of male exposure. Introduction of a male led to elevated mean LH levels, due to increased LH pulse amplitude and pulse frequency in females, when compared to females not exposed to a male. Infusion of P-271 abolished this effect of male exposure. Brains were collected after the male effect stimulus and we observed an increase in the percentage of kisspeptin neurons co-expressing Fos, by immunohistochemistry. In addition, the per-cell expression of Kiss1 mRNA was increased in the rostral and mid (but not the caudal) arcuate nucleus (ARC) after male exposure in both aCSF and P-271 treated ewes, but the per-cell content of neurokinin B mRNA was decreased. There was also a generalized increase in Fos positive cells in the rostral and mid ARC as well as the ventromedial hypothalamus of females exposed to males. We conclude that introduction of male sheep to seasonally anestrous female sheep activates kisspeptin neurons and other cells in the hypothalamus, leading to increased GnRH/LH secretion.
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Gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH), GnIH receptor and cell signaling.
Gen. Comp. Endocrinol.
PUBLISHED: 01-10-2013
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Gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH) is an inhibitor of gonadotropin synthesis and release, which was originally identified in the hypothalamus of the Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica). The GnIH precursor polypeptide encodes one GnIH and two GnIH related peptides (GnIH-RP-1 and GnIH-RP-2) in birds that share the same C-terminal LPXRFamide (X=L or Q) motif. The receptor for GnIH is thought to be the G protein-coupled receptor 147 (GPR147) which has been shown to couple predominantly through the G?i protein to inhibit cAMP production. The crude membrane fraction of COS-7 cells transfected with GPR147 cDNA specifically bound GnIH and GnIH-RPs in a concentration-dependent manner. Scatchard plot analysis of the binding showed that GPR147 possessed a single class of high-affinity binding sites. GnIH neurons project to the median eminence to control anterior pituitary function and GPR147 is expressed in the gonadotropes. GnIH neurons also project to gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)-I and GnRH-II neurons, and GnRH-I and GnRH-II neurons express GPR147. Thus, GnIH may inhibit gonadotropin synthesis and release by decreasing the activity of GnRH-I neurons as well as directly inhibiting the effects of GnRH on gonadotropes. GnIH may also partially inhibit reproductive behaviors by inhibiting GnRH-II neurons. GnIH and GPR147 are also expressed in the gonads, possibly acting in an autocrine/paracrine manner. The cell signaling process of GPR147 was extensively studied using L?T2 cells, a mouse gonadotrope cell line. In this cell line, mouse GnIH inhibits GnRH-induced gonadotropin subunit, LH?, FSH?, and common ?, gene transcriptions by inhibiting adenylate cyclase/cAMP/PKA dependent ERK pathway. This review summarizes the functions of GnIH, GnIH receptor and its cell signaling processes in birds and discusses related findings in mammals.
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Developmental profile and sexually dimorphic expression of kiss1 and kiss1r in the fetal mouse brain.
Front Endocrinol (Lausanne)
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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The hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis (HPG) is a complex neuroendocrine circuit involving multiple levels of regulation. Kisspeptin neurons play essential roles in controlling the HPG axis from the perspectives of puberty onset, oscillations of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) neuron activity, and the pre-ovulatory LH surge. The current studies focus on the expression of kisspeptin during murine fetal development using in situ hybridization (ISH), quantitative reverse transcription real-time PCR (QPCR), and immunocytochemistry. Expression of mRNA coding for kisspeptin (KISS1) and its receptor KISS1R was observed at embryonic (E) day 13 by ISH. At E13 and other later ages examined, Kiss1 signal in individual cells within the arcuate nucleus (ARC) appeared stronger in females than males. ISH examination of agonadal steroidogenic factor-1 (Sf1) knockout mice revealed that E17 XY knockouts (KO) resembled wild-type (WT) XX females. These findings raise the possibility that gonadal hormones modulate the expression of Kiss1 in the ARC prior to birth. The sex and genotype differences were tested quantitatively by QPCR experiments in dissected hypothalami from mice at E17 and adulthood. Females had significantly more Kiss1 than males at both ages, even though the number of cells detected by ISH was similar. In addition, QPCR revealed a significant difference in the amount of Kiss1 mRNA in Sf1 mice with WT XY mice expressing less than XY KO and XX mice of both genotypes. The detection of immunoreactive KISS1 in perikarya of the ARC at E17 indicates that early mRNA is translated to peptide. The functional significance of this early expression of Kiss1 awaits elucidation.
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R31C GNRH1 mutation and congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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Normosmic congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (nCHH) is a rare reproductive disease leading to lack of puberty and infertility. Loss-of-function mutations of GNRH1 gene are a very rare cause of autosomal recessive nCHH. R31C GNRH1 is the only missense mutation that affects the conserved GnRH decapeptide sequence. This mutation was identified in a CpG islet in nine nCHH subjects from four unrelated families, giving evidence for a putative "hot spot". Interestingly, all the nCHH patients carry this mutation in heterozygosis that strikingly contrasts with the recessive inheritance associated with frame shift and non-sense mutations. Therefore, after exclusion of a second genetic event, a comprehensive functional characterization of the mutant R31C GnRH was undertaken. Using different cellular models, we clearly demonstrate a dramatic reduction of the mutant decapeptide capacity to bind GnRH-receptor, to activate MAPK pathway and to trigger inositol phosphate accumulation and intracellular calcium mobilization. In addition it is less able than wild type to induce lh-beta transcription and LH secretion in gonadotrope cells. Finally, the absence of a negative dominance in vitro offers a unique opportunity to discuss the complex in vivo patho-physiology of this form of nCHH.
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A novel glucagon-related peptide (GCRP) and its receptor GCRPR account for coevolution of their family members in vertebrates.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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The glucagon (GCG) peptide family consists of GCG, glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP1), and GLP2, which are derived from a common GCG precursor, and the glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP). These peptides interact with cognate receptors, GCGR, GLP1R, GLP2R, and GIPR, which belong to the secretin-like G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) family. We used bioinformatics to identify genes encoding a novel GCG-related peptide (GCRP) and its cognate receptor, GCRPR. The GCRP and GCRPR genes were found in representative tetrapod taxa such as anole lizard, chicken, and Xenopus, and in teleosts including medaka, fugu, tetraodon, and stickleback. However, they were not present in mammals and zebrafish. Phylogenetic and genome synteny analyses showed that GCRP emerged through two rounds of whole genome duplication (2R) during early vertebrate evolution. GCRPR appears to have arisen by local tandem gene duplications from a common ancestor of GCRPR, GCGR, and GLP2R after 2R. Biochemical ligand-receptor interaction analyses revealed that GCRP had the highest affinity for GCRPR in comparison to other GCGR family members. Stimulation of chicken, Xenopus, and medaka GCRPRs activated G?s-mediated signaling. In contrast to chicken and Xenopus GCRPRs, medaka GCRPR also induced G?q/11-mediated signaling. Chimeric peptides and receptors showed that the K(16)M(17)K(18) and G(16)Q(17)A(18) motifs in GCRP and GLP1, respectively, may at least in part contribute to specific recognition of their cognate receptors through interaction with the receptor core domain. In conclusion, we present novel data demonstrating that GCRP and GCRPR evolved through gene/genome duplications followed by specific modifications that conferred selective recognition to this ligand-receptor pair.
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The differential expression of Kiss1, MMP9 and angiogenic regulators across the feto-maternal interface of healthy human pregnancies: implications for trophoblast invasion and vessel development.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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Genes involved in invasion of trophoblast cells and angiogenesis are crucial in determining pregnancy outcome. We therefore studied expression profiles of these genes in both fetal and maternal tissues to enhance our understanding of feto-maternal dialogue. We investigated the expression of genes involved in trophoblast invasion, namely Kiss1, Kiss1 Receptor (Kiss1R) and MMP9 as well as the expression of angiogenic ligands Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-A (VEGF-A) and Prokineticin-1 (PROK1) and their respective receptors (VEGFR1, VEGFR2 and PROK1R) across the feto-maternal interface of healthy human pregnancies. The placenta, placental bed and decidua parietalis were sampled at elective caesarean delivery. Real-time RT-PCR was used to investigate transcription, while immunohistochemistry and western blot analyses were utilized to study protein expression. We found that the expression of Kiss1 (p<0.001), Kiss1R (p<0.05) and MMP9 (p<0.01) were higher in the placenta compared to the placental bed and decidua parietalis. In contrast, the expression of VEGF-A was highest in the placental bed (p<0.001). While VEGFR1 expression was highest in the placenta (p<0.01), the expression of VEGFR2 was highest in the placental bed (p<0.001). Lastly, both PROK1 (p<0.001) and its receptor PROK1R (p<0.001) had highest expression in the placenta. Genes associated with trophoblast invasion were highly expressed in the placenta which could suggest that the influence on invasion capacity may largely be exercised at the fetal level. Furthermore, our findings on angiogenic gene expression profiles suggest that angiogenesis may be regulated by two distinct pathways with the PROK1/PROK1R system specifically mediating angiogenesis in the fetus and VEGFA/VEGFR2 ligand-receptor pair predominantly mediating maternal angiogenesis.
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Transcript and protein profiling identifies signaling, growth arrest, apoptosis, and NF-?B survival signatures following GNRH receptor activation.
Endocr. Relat. Cancer
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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GNRH significantly inhibits proliferation of a proportion of cancer cell lines by activating GNRH receptor (GNRHR)-G protein signaling. Therefore, manipulation of GNRHR signaling may have an under-utilized role in treating certain breast and ovarian cancers. However, the precise signaling pathways necessary for the effect and the features of cellular responses remain poorly defined. We used transcriptomic and proteomic profiling approaches to characterize the effects of GNRHR activation in sensitive cells (HEK293-GNRHR, SCL60) in vitro and in vivo, compared to unresponsive HEK293. Analyses of gene expression demonstrated a dynamic response to the GNRH superagonist Triptorelin. Early and mid-phase changes (0.5-1.0 h) comprised mainly transcription factors. Later changes (8-24 h) included a GNRH target gene, CGA, and up- or downregulation of transcripts encoding signaling and cell division machinery. Pathway analysis identified altered MAPK and cell cycle pathways, consistent with occurrence of G(2)/M arrest and apoptosis. Nuclear factor kappa B (NF-?B) pathway gene transcripts were differentially expressed between control and Triptorelin-treated SCL60 cultures. Reverse-phase protein and phospho-proteomic array analyses profiled responses in cultured cells and SCL60 xenografts in vivo during Triptorelin anti-proliferation. Increased phosphorylated NF-?B (p65) occurred in SCL60 in vitro, and p-NF-?B and I?B? were higher in treated xenografts than controls after 4 days Triptorelin. NF-?B inhibition enhanced the anti-proliferative effect of Triptorelin in SCL60 cultures. This study reveals details of pathways interacting with intense GNRHR signaling, identifies potential anti-proliferative target genes, and implicates the NF-?B survival pathway as a node for enhancing GNRH agonist-induced anti-proliferation.
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Developmental changes in GnRH release in response to kisspeptin agonist and antagonist in female rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta): implication for the mechanism of puberty.
Endocrinology
PUBLISHED: 12-13-2011
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Kisspeptin (KP) and KP-1 receptor (KISS1R) have emerged as important upstream regulators in the control of puberty. However, how developmental changes in KP-KISS1R contribute to the pubertal increase in GnRH release still remains elusive. In this study, we examined the effects of the KP agonist, human KP-10 (hKP-10), and the KP antagonist, peptide 234, on in vivo GnRH release in prepubertal and pubertal ovarian-intact female rhesus monkeys using a microdialysis method. We found that direct infusion of hKP-10 into the medial basal hypothalamus and stalk-median eminence region stimulated GnRH release in a dose-responsive manner, whereas infusion of peptide 234 suppressed GnRH release in both developmental stages. Because ovarian steroid feedback on GnRH release becomes prominent after the initiation of puberty in primates, we further examined whether ovarian steroids modify the GnRH response to hKP-10. Results demonstrate that the hKP-10-induced stimulation of GnRH release was eliminated by ovariectomy in pubertal, but not prepubertal, monkeys. Furthermore, replacement of estradiol into ovariectomized pubertal monkeys resulted in a partial recovery of the hKP-10-induced GnRH release. Collectively, these results suggest that a KISS1R-mediated mechanism, in addition to the pubertal increase in KP-54 release we previously reported, contributes to the pubertal increase in GnRH release and that there is a switch from an ovarian steroid-independent to -dependent mechanism in the response of GnRH to KP.
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GnRH receptor activation competes at a low level with growth signaling in stably transfected human breast cell lines.
BMC Cancer
PUBLISHED: 07-25-2011
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Gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH) analogs lower estrogen levels in pre-menopausal breast cancer patients. GnRH receptor (GnRH-R) activation also directly inhibits the growth of certain cells. The applicability of GnRH anti-proliferation to breast cancer was therefore analyzed.
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Factors associated with failure to successfully complete a procedure during emergency department sedation.
Emerg Med Australas
PUBLISHED: 05-17-2011
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To determine factors associated with failure to successfully complete a procedure during sedation in the ED.
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Risk factors for sedation-related events during procedural sedation in the emergency department.
Emerg Med Australas
PUBLISHED: 05-17-2011
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To determine the nature, incidence and risk factors for sedation-related events during ED procedural sedation, with particular focus on the drugs administered.
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Procedural sedation practices in Australian Emergency Departments.
Emerg Med Australas
PUBLISHED: 05-17-2011
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The aim of the present study was to describe procedural sedation practices undertaken in a spectrum of Australian EDs.
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Phospholipase C-?2 is activated by elevated intracellular Ca(2+) levels.
Cell. Signal.
PUBLISHED: 05-05-2011
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Phospholipase C-?2 (PLC?2) is a novel enzyme whose activity in a cellular context is largely uncharacterised. In this study the activity of PLC?2 was examined via [(3)H]inositol phosphate release in COS7 cells expressing the enzyme. PLC?2 activity increased approximately 5-fold in response to monensin, a Na(+)/H(+) antiporter. This was significantly inhibited by CGP-37157 which implies that the effect of monensin was due, at least in part, to mitochondrial Na(+)/Ca(2+)-exchange. Direct activation of PLC?2 by <1?M Ca(2+) was confirmed in permeabilised transfected cells. The roles of the PH and C2 domains in controlling PLC?2 activity via membrane association were also investigated. A PH domain-lacking mutant exhibited no detectable activity in response to monensin or Ca(2+) due to an inability to associate with the cell membrane. Within the C2 domain, mutation of D920 to alanine at the predicted Ca(2+)-binding site dramatically reduced enzyme activity highlighting an important regulatory role for this domain. Mutation of D861 to asparagine also influenced activity, most likely due to altered lipid selectivity. Of the C2 mutations investigated, none altered sensitivity to Ca(2+). This suggests that the C2 domain is not responsible for Ca(2+) activation. Collectively, this work highlights an important new component of the Ca(2+) signalling toolkit and given its sensitivity to Ca(2+), this enzyme is likely to facilitate the amplification of intracellular Ca(2+) transients and/or crosstalk between Ca(2+)-storing compartments in vivo.
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Rescue of expression and signaling of human luteinizing hormone G protein-coupled receptor mutants with an allosterically binding small-molecule agonist.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 04-11-2011
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Naturally occurring mutations of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) causing misfolding and failure to traffic to the cell surface can result in disease states. Some small-molecule orthosteric ligands can rescue such misfolded receptors, presumably by facilitating their correct folding and shuttling to the plasma membrane. Here we show that a cell-permeant, allosterically binding small-molecule agonist (Org 42599) rescues the folding and cell surface expression, and therefore target cell signaling, of mutant human luteinizing hormone (LH) receptors (A593P and S616Y) that cause Leydig cell hypoplasia in man. Both mutant receptors were retained in the cytoplasm whereas WT receptor localized at the cell membrane, and binding of LH to cells expressing the mutant receptors was markedly lower than to those expressing the WT receptor. Incubation with Org 42599 increased mutant receptor expression, cell surface localization, and the proportion of mutant receptor in the mature glycosylated form. Importantly, although LH stimulated little (S616Y) or no (A593P) activation of cells expressing mutant receptors, incubation of cells with Org 42599 facilitated rescue of expression and stimulation by the native ligand, LH. Although Org 42599 could activate these receptors, it could not displace (125)I-labeled human LH binding to the WT receptor, indicating that it acts in an allosteric manner. Here we demonstrate a small-molecule GPCR allosteric agonist that functionally rescues intracellularly retained mutant LH receptors by facilitating their cell surface expression. This approach may have application for treatment of infertile patients bearing such mutations and, more broadly, for other misfolded GPCR mutants resulting in human pathologic processes.
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Frequency-dependent recruitment of fast amino acid and slow neuropeptide neurotransmitter release controls gonadotropin-releasing hormone neuron excitability.
J. Neurosci.
PUBLISHED: 02-18-2011
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The anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPV) is thought to play a key role in regulating the excitability of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons that control fertility. Using an angled, parahorizontal brain slice preparation we have undertaken a series of electrophysiological experiments to examine how the AVPV controls GnRH neurons in adult male and female mice. More than half (59%) of GnRH neurons located in the rostral preoptic area were found to receive monosynaptic inputs from the AVPV in a sex-dependent manner. AVPV stimulation frequencies <1 Hz generated short-latency action potentials in GnRH neurons with GABA and glutamate mediating >90% of the evoked fast synaptic currents. The AVPV GABA input was dominant and found to excite or inhibit GnRH neurons in a cell-dependent manner. Increasing the AVPV stimulation frequency to 5-10 Hz resulted in the appearance of additional poststimulus inhibitory as well as delayed excitatory responses in GnRH neurons that were independent of ionotropic amino acid receptors. The inhibition observed immediately following the end of the stimulation period was mediated partly by GABA(B) receptors, while the delayed activation was mediated by the neuropeptide kisspeptin. The latter response was essentially absent in Gpr54 knock-out mice and abolished by a Gpr54 antagonist. Together, these studies show that AVPV neurons provide direct amino acid and neuropeptidergic inputs to GnRH neurons. Low-frequency activation generates predominant GABA/glutamate release with higher frequency activation recruiting release of kisspeptin. This frequency-dependent release of amino acid and neuropeptide neurotransmitters greatly expands the range of AVPV control of GnRH neuron excitability.
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Kisspeptin is essential for the full preovulatory LH surge and stimulates GnRH release from the isolated ovine median eminence.
Endocrinology
PUBLISHED: 01-14-2011
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Kisspeptins are the product of the Kiss1 gene and potently stimulate GnRH secretion. In sheep, Kiss1 mRNA-expressing cells are found in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) and dorsal-lateral preoptic area and both appear to mediate the positive feedback effect of estradiol to generate the preovulatory GnRH/LH surge. To determine the role of kisspeptin in transmitting estrogen-positive feedback in the hypothalamus, we administered the kisspeptin antagonist p-271 to ewes subjected to an estradiol benzoate-induced LH surge. Kisspeptin antagonist treatment significantly attenuated these LH surges. We further examined the response to kisspeptin treatment prior to the LH surge. Kisspeptin significantly stimulated GnRH secretion into the hypophysial portal system, but the response to kisspeptin was similar in luteal and late-follicular phase ewes. Kiss1r mRNA expression in GnRH neurons was also similar across the estrous cycle. To examine alternative pathways for kisspeptin stimulation of GnRH neurons, we examined the origin of kisspeptin neuronal fibers in the external zone of the median eminence (ME) using neuronal tracing and immunohistochemical techniques. ARC populations of kisspeptin neurons project fibers to the ME. Finally, we showed kisspeptin stimulates GnRH release from ovine ME-cultured explants. This suggests direct kisspeptin to GnRH terminal-to-terminal communication within the ME. Overall, these data indicate an essential role for kisspeptin in receiving stimulatory estrogen signals and generating the full positive feedback GnRH/LH surge. Kisspeptin neurons of the ARC project to the external zone of the ME and kisspeptin acts upon the GnRH fibers at this level.
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Kisspeptin-10 inhibits angiogenesis in human placental vessels ex vivo and endothelial cells in vitro.
Endocrinology
PUBLISHED: 10-06-2010
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Recent studies suggest that kisspeptin (a neuropeptide central to the regulation of gonadotrophin secretion) has diverse roles in human physiology, including a putative role in implantation and placental function. Kisspeptin and its receptor are present in human blood vessels, where they mediate vasoconstriction, and kisspeptin is known to inhibit tumor metastasis and trophoblast invasion, both processes involving angiogenesis. We hypothesized that kisspeptin contributes to the regulation of angiogenesis in the reproductive system. The presence of the kisspeptin receptor was confirmed in human placental blood vessels and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) using immunochemistry. The ability of kisspeptin-10 (KP-10) (a shorter biologically active processed peptide) to inhibit angiogenesis was tested in explanted human placental arteries and HUVEC using complementary ex vivo and in vitro assays. KP-10 inhibited new vessel sprouting from placental arteries embedded in Matrigel and tube-like structure formation by HUVEC, in a concentration-dependent manner. KP-10 had no effect on HUVEC viability or apoptosis but induced concentration-dependent inhibition of proliferation and migration. In conclusion, KP-10 has antiangiogenic effects and, given its high expression in the placenta, may contribute to the regulation of angiogenesis in this tissue.
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Elevated GnRH receptor expression plus GnRH agonist treatment inhibits the growth of a subset of papillomavirus 18-immortalized human prostate cells.
Prostate
PUBLISHED: 08-16-2010
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Human metastatic prostate cancer cell growth can be inhibited by GnRH analogs but effects on virus-immortalized prostate cells have not been investigated.
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Kisspeptin antagonists: unraveling the role of kisspeptin in reproductive physiology.
Brain Res.
PUBLISHED: 06-21-2010
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Kisspeptin has recently been identified as a key neuroendocrine gatekeeper of reproduction and is essential for the initiation of human puberty and maintenance of adult reproduction. Kisspeptin neurons appear to be integrative sensors, as they respond to changes in numerous internal and external factors including nutrient and fat status, stress and sex steroids, thus providing a link between these factors and reproduction. We have pioneered the development of kisspeptin antagonists as powerful tools for interrogating the role of kisspeptin in reproductive physiology and pathology, and as potential treatments for hormone-dependent disease. This article summarizes their development and key findings to date. These demonstrate an essential role for kisspeptin in GnRH neuron firing, GnRH pulsatile secretion, negative feedback by gonadal steroids, the onset of puberty, and the ovulatory LH surge. These studies establish that kisspeptin antagonists are powerful investigative tools and set the scene for more extensive physiological and pathophysiological studies as well as therapeutic intervention.
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The human gonadotropin releasing hormone type I receptor is a functional intracellular GPCR expressed on the nuclear membrane.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 05-17-2010
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The mammalian type I gonadotropin releasing hormone receptor (GnRH-R) is a structurally unique G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) that lacks cytoplasmic tail sequences and displays inefficient plasma membrane expression (PME). Compared to its murine counterparts, the primate type I receptor is inefficiently folded and retained in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) leading to a further reduction in PME. The decrease in PME and concomitant increase in intracellular localization of the mammalian GnRH-RI led us to characterize the spatial distribution of the human and mouse GnRH receptors in two human cell lines, HEK 293 and HTR-8/SVneo. In both human cell lines we found the receptors were expressed in the cytoplasm and were associated with the ER and nuclear membrane. A molecular analysis of the receptor protein sequence led us to identify a putative monopartite nuclear localization sequence (NLS) in the first intracellular loop of GnRH-RI. Surprisingly, however, neither the deletion of the NLS nor the addition of the Xenopus GnRH-R cytoplasmic tail sequences to the human receptor altered its spatial distribution. Finally, we demonstrate that GnRH treatment of nuclei isolated from HEK 293 cells expressing exogenous GnRH-RI triggers a significant increase in the acetylation and phosphorylation of histone H3, thereby revealing that the nuclear-localized receptor is functional. Based on our findings, we conclude that the mammalian GnRH-RI is an intracellular GPCR that is expressed on the nuclear membrane. This major and novel discovery causes us to reassess the signaling potential of this physiologically and clinically important receptor.
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Defective migration of neuroendocrine GnRH cells in human arrhinencephalic conditions.
J. Clin. Invest.
PUBLISHED: 05-14-2010
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Patients with Kallmann syndrome (KS) have hypogonadotropic hypogonadism caused by a deficiency of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and a defective sense of smell related to olfactory bulb aplasia. Based on the findings in a fetus affected by the X chromosome–linked form of the disease, it has been suggested that hypogonadism in KS results from the failed embryonic migration of neuroendocrine GnRH1 cells from the nasal epithelium to the forebrain. We asked whether this singular observation might extend to other developmental disorders that also include arrhinencephaly. We therefore studied the location of GnRH1 cells in fetuses affected by different arrhinencephalic disorders, specifically X-linked KS, CHARGE syndrome, trisomy 13, and trisomy 18, using immunohistochemistry. Few or no neuroendocrine GnRH1 cells were detected in the preoptic and hypothalamic regions of all arrhinencephalic fetuses, whereas large numbers of these cells were present in control fetuses. In all arrhinencephalic fetuses, many GnRH1 cells were present in the frontonasal region, the first part of their migratory path, as were interrupted olfactory nerve fibers that formed bilateral neuromas. Our findings define a pathological sequence whereby a lack of migration of neuroendocrine GnRH cells stems from the primary embryonic failure of peripheral olfactory structures. This can occur either alone, as in isolated KS, or as part of a pleiotropic disease, such as CHARGE syndrome, trisomy 13, and trisomy 18.
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Identification of androgen receptor phosphorylation in the primate ovary in vivo.
Reproduction
PUBLISHED: 04-20-2010
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The androgen receptor (AR) is a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily, and is important for both male and female reproductive health. The receptor is a target for a number of post-translational modifications including phosphorylation, which has been intensively studied in vitro. However, little is known about the phosphorylation status of the receptor in target tissues in vivo. The common marmoset is a useful model for studying human reproductive functions, and comparison of the AR primary sequence from this primate shows high conservation of serines known to be phosphorylated in the human receptor and corresponding flanking amino acids. We have used a panel of phosphospecific antibodies to study AR phosphorylation in the marmoset ovary throughout the follicular phase and after treatment with GNRH antagonist or testosterone propionate. In normal follicular phase ovaries, total AR (both phosphorylated and non-phosphorylated forms) immunopositive staining was observed in several cell types including granulosa cells of developing follicles, theca cells and endothelial cells lining blood vessels. Receptor phosphorylation at serines 81, 308, and 650 was detected primarily in the granulosa cells of developing follicles, surface epithelium, and vessel endothelial cells. Testosterone treatment lead to a modest increase in AR staining in all stages of follicle studied, while GNRH antagonist had no effect. Neither treatment significantly altered the pattern of phosphorylation compared to the control group. These results demonstrate that phosphorylation of the AR occurs, at a subset of serine residues, in a reproductive target tissue in vivo, which appears refractory to hormonal manipulations.
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Elucidation of mechanisms of the reciprocal cross talk between gonadotropin-releasing hormone and prostaglandin receptors.
Endocrinology
PUBLISHED: 04-14-2010
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We recently described a novel GnRH receptor signaling pathway mediated by the prostaglandins (PGs) F(2alpha) and PGI(2), which acts through an autocrine/paracrine modality to limit autoregulation of the GnRH receptor and inhibit LH but not FSH release. Here we further explore the cross talk between GnRH and the PG receptors. GnRH stimulates arachidonic acid (AA) release from LbetaT2 gonadotrope cells via the Ca(2+)-independent phospholipase A(2) (iPLA(2)) and not via the more common Ca(2+)-dependent cytosolic phospholipase A(2)alpha (cPLA(2)alpha). AA release was followed by a marked induction of cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 and COX-2 by GnRH via the protein kinase C/c-Src/phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/MAPK pathway. COX-2 transcription by GnRH is mediated by the two nuclear factor-kappaB sites and the CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein site within its promoter. Indeed, GnRH stimulates p65/RelA phosphorylation (22-fold) in LbetaT2 cells and the two nuclear factor-kappaB sites apparently act as a composite response element. Although GnRH stimulates cAMP formation in LbetaT2 cells, we found no role for cAMP acting via the cAMP response element site in the COX-2 promoter. PGF(2alpha), PGI(2), or PGE(2) had no effect on GnRH-stimulated ERK, c-Jun N-terminal kinase, and p38MAPK activation or on GnRH- and high K(+)-stimulated intracellular Ca(2+) elevation in LbetaT2 and gonadotropes in primary culture. Although, PGF(2alpha), PGI(2), and PGE(2) reduced GnRH-stimulated cAMP formation, we could not correlate it to the inhibition of GnRH receptor expression, which is exerted only by PGF(2alpha) and PGI(2.) Hence, the inhibition by PGF(2alpha) and PGI(2) of the autoregulation of GnRH receptor expression is most likely mediated via inhibition of GnRH-stimulated phosphoinositide turnover and not by inhibition of Ca(2+) elevation and MAPK activation.
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Hypothesis: kisspeptin mediates male hypogonadism in obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Neuroendocrinology
PUBLISHED: 03-12-2010
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Hypogonadism occurs commonly in men with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and severe obesity. Current evidence points to a decreased secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) from the hypothalamus and thereby decreased secretion of gonadotropins from the pituitary gland as a central feature of the pathophysiology in these men. Hyperglycaemia, inflammation, leptin and oestrogen-related feedback have been proposed to make aetiological contributions to the hypogonadotropic hypogonadism of T2DM. However, the neuroendocrine signals that link these factors with modulation of GnRH neurons have yet to be identified. Kisspeptins play a central role in the modulation of GnRH secretion and, thus, downstream regulation of gonadotropins and testosterone secretion in men. Inactivating mutations of the kisspeptin receptor have been shown to cause hypogonadotropic hypogonadism in man, whilst an activating mutation is associated with precocious puberty. Data from studies in experimental animals link kisspeptin expression with individual factors known to regulate GnRH secretion, including hyperglycaemia, inflammation, leptin and oestrogen. We therefore hypothesise that decreased endogenous kisspeptin secretion is the common central pathway that links metabolic and endocrine factors in the pathology of testosterone deficiency seen in men with obesity and T2DM. We propose that the kisspeptin system plays a central role in integrating a range of metabolic inputs, thus constituting the link between energy status with the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, and put forward potential clinical studies to test the hypothesis.
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The year in G protein-coupled receptor research.
Mol. Endocrinol.
PUBLISHED: 12-17-2009
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I (R.P.M.) presented "The Year In G Protein-Coupled Receptor Research" at ENDO 2009. I first described the diversity of ligands and the five families into which the approximately 800 G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are grouped, their basic structural architectures, their preeminent role in signaling, and the enormous scope for developing drugs targeted at GPCRs. I then spoke about some of the exciting breakthroughs in solving the atomic level structures of the active state of rhodopsin, beta(2)-adrenergic, beta(1)-adrenergic, and A(2A)-adenosine receptors. I also described studies on the structural changes accompanying the activation of the rhodopsin family of GPCRs. From these recent technical advances, we can anticipate that many more GPCR structures will emerge, which will afford us greater insight into their common and unique structural features and, particularly, the mechanisms underlying their activation. These insights will guide us in our understanding of how GPCRs operate, both in the normal and pathological situation. Although these crystal structures are highly informative, it is important to recognize that they represent static frozen conformations of a single GPCR state. New biophysical techniques are therefore being utilized to facilitate the dynamic monitoring of GPCR structural changes in relation to ligand activation. Solving of the crystal structures of GPCRs has also presented the real possibility of using the information of the ligand-binding pocket to allow in silico screening for novel small-molecule ligands. I then reviewed the concept of ligand-induced selective signaling of GPCRs, which is opening up new insights into more selective drug development. The assembly of GPCRs as homo- and heterooligomers and their phosphorylation and association with a vast array of trafficking and signal-modulating proteins are emerging as major mechanisms underlying the functioning of GPCRs. Differential expression and recruitment of these proteins provide a mechanism for subtle physiological regulation of cellular activity. Finally, I mentioned some of the GPCRs that have lately come to the fore as novel regulators in endocrinology. These included fatty acid-specific GPCRs expressed in pancreatic beta-cells and novel neuroendocrine GPCRs regulating reproduction.
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Regulation of GPR54 signaling by GRK2 and {beta}-arrestin.
Mol. Endocrinol.
PUBLISHED: 10-21-2009
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Kisspeptin and its receptor, GPR54, are major regulators of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis as well as regulators of human placentation and tumor metastases. GPR54 is a G(q/11)-coupled G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), and activation by kisspeptin stimulates phosphatidy linositol 4, 5-biphosphate hydrolysis, Ca(2+) mobilization, arachidonic acid release, and ERK1/2 MAPK phosphorylation. Physiological evidence suggests that GPR54 undergoes agonist-dependent desensitization, but underlying molecular mechanisms are unknown. Furthermore, very little has been reported on the early events that regulate GPR54 signaling. The lack of information in these important areas led to this study. Here we report for the first time on the role of GPCR serine/threonine kinase (GRK)2 and beta-arrestin in regulating GPR54 signaling in human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 cells, a model cell system for studying the molecular regulation of GPCRs, and genetically modified MDA MB-231 cells, an invasive breast cancer cell line expressing about 75% less beta-arrestin-2 than the control cell line. Our study reveals that in HEK 293 cells, GPR54 is expressed both at the plasma membrane and intracellularly and also that plasma membrane expression is regulated by cytoplasmic tail sequences. We also demonstrate that GPR54 exhibits constitutive activity, internalization, and association with GRK2 and beta- arrestins-1 and 2 through sequences in the second intracellular loop and cytoplasmic tail of the receptor. We also show that GRK2 stimulates the desensitization of GPR54 in HEK 293 cells and that beta-arrestin-2 mediates GPR54 activation of ERK1/2 in MDA-MB-231 cells. The significance of these findings in developing molecular-based therapies for treating certain endocrine-related disorders is discussed.
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Kisspeptin signalling in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus regulates GnRH pulse generator frequency in the rat.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 09-02-2009
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Kisspeptin and its G protein-coupled receptor (GPR) 54 are essential for activation of the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis. In the rat, the kisspeptin neurons critical for gonadotropin secretion are located in the hypothalamic arcuate (ARC) and anteroventral periventricular (AVPV) nuclei. As the ARC is known to be the site of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) pulse generator we explored whether kisspeptin-GPR54 signalling in the ARC regulates GnRH pulses.
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Identification of human GnIH homologs, RFRP-1 and RFRP-3, and the cognate receptor, GPR147 in the human hypothalamic pituitary axis.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 07-03-2009
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The existence of a hypothalamic gonadotropin-inhibiting system has been elusive. A neuropeptide named gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH, SIKPSAYLPLRF-NH(2)) which directly inhibits gonadotropin synthesis and release from the pituitary was recently identified in quail hypothalamus. Here we identify GnIH homologs in the human hypothalamus and characterize their distribution and biological activity. GnIH homologs were isolated from the human hypothalamus by immunoaffinity purification, and then identified as MPHSFANLPLRF-NH(2) (human RFRP-1) and VPNLPQRF-NH(2) (human RFRP-3) by mass spectrometry. Immunocytochemistry revealed GnIH-immunoreactive neuronal cell bodies in the dorsomedial region of the hypothalamus with axonal projections to GnRH neurons in the preoptic area as well as to the median eminence. RT-PCR and subsequent DNA sequencing of the PCR products identified human GnIH receptor (GPR147) mRNA expression in the hypothalamus as well as in the pituitary. In situ hybridization further identified the expression of GPR147 mRNA in luteinizing hormone producing cells (gonadotropes). Human RFRP-3 has recently been shown to be a potent inhibitor of gonadotropin secretion in cultured sheep pituitary cells by inhibiting Ca(2+) mobilization. It also directly modulates GnRH neuron firing. The identification of two forms of GnIH (RFRP-1 and RFRP-3) in the human hypothalamus which targets human GnRH neurons and gonadotropes and potently inhibit gonadotropin in sheep models provides a new paradigm for the regulation of hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis in man and a novel means for manipulating reproductive functions.
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Isolated familial hypogonadotropic hypogonadism and a GNRH1 mutation.
N. Engl. J. Med.
PUBLISHED: 06-17-2009
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We investigated whether mutations in the gene encoding gonadotropin-releasing hormone 1 (GNRH1) might be responsible for idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH) in humans. We identified a homozygous GNRH1 frameshift mutation, an insertion of an adenine at nucleotide position 18 (c.18-19insA), in the sequence encoding the N-terminal region of the signal peptide-containing protein precursor of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (prepro-GnRH) in a teenage brother and sister, who had normosmic IHH. Their unaffected parents and a sibling who was tested were heterozygous. This mutation results in an aberrant peptide lacking the conserved GnRH decapeptide sequence, as shown by the absence of immunoreactive GnRH when expressed in vitro. This isolated autosomal recessive GnRH deficiency, reversed by pulsatile GnRH administration, shows the pivotal role of GnRH in human reproduction.
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The chicken type III GnRH receptor homologue is predominantly expressed in the pituitary, and exhibits similar ligand selectivity to the type I receptor.
J. Endocrinol.
PUBLISHED: 04-20-2009
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Two GnRH isoforms (cGnRH-I and GnRH-II) and two GnRH receptor subtypes (cGnRH-R-I and cGnRH-R-III) occur in chickens. Differential roles for these molecules in regulating gonadotrophin secretion or other functions are unclear. To investigate this we cloned cGnRH-R-III from a broiler chicken and compared its structure, expression and pharmacological properties with cGnRH-R-I. The broiler cGnRH-R-III cDNA was 100% identical to the sequence reported in the red jungle fowl and white leghorn breed. Pituitary cGnRH-R-III mRNA was approximately 1400-fold more abundant than cGnRH-R-I mRNA. Northern analysis indicated a single cGnRH-R-III transcript. A pronounced sex and age difference existed, with higher pituitary transcript levels in sexually mature females versus juvenile females. In contrast, higher expression levels occurred in juvenile males versus sexually mature males. Functional studies in COS-7 cells indicated that cGnRH-R-III has a higher binding affinity for GnRH-II than cGnRH-I (K(d): 0.57 vs 19.8 nM) with more potent stimulation of inositol phosphate production (ED(50): 0.8 vs 4.38 nM). Similar results were found for cGnRH-R-I, (K(d): 0.51 vs 10.8 nM) and (ED(50): 0.7 vs 2.8 nM). The initial rate of internalisation was faster for cGnRH-R-III than cGnRH-R-I (26 vs 15.8%/min). Effects of GnRH antagonists were compared at the two receptors. Antagonist #27 distinguished between cGnRH-R-I and cGnRH-R-III (IC(50): 2.3 vs 351 nM). These results suggest that cGnRH-R-III is probably the major mediator of pituitary gonadotroph function, that antagonist #27 may allow delineation of receptor subtype function in vitro and in vivo and that tissue-specific recruitment of cGnRH-R isoforms has occurred during evolution.
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Retention and silencing of prepro-GnRH-II and type II GnRH receptor genes in mammals.
Neuroendocrinology
PUBLISHED: 04-07-2009
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The decapeptide hypothalamic-pituitary gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH)-I and the type I GnRH receptor drive the reproductive hormonal cascade in mammals by stimulating synthesis and secretion of luteinising hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). Mammals possess a second GnRH system composed of a related hormone, GnRH-II (differing from GnRH-I by three amino acid residues), and the type II GnRH receptor. In many mammalian species, one or both of the GnRH-II system genes are disrupted or deleted, rendering their products non-functional. This includes humans who possess a gene encoding GnRH-II but lack a functional type II GnRH receptor. Here we examined the genes encoding prepro-GnRH-II (GnRH2) and the type II GnRH receptor (GnRHR2) in more than 20 mammalian species, encompassing 10 orders, to determine whether they encode functional proteins. The structural organisation of both genes in most mammalian genome sequence assemblies was poorly annotated or incompletely described. Our findings show significant variation in the DNA sequence conservation and functional status of each gene, even between closely related species. Prepro-GnRH-II was functionally compromised in 12/22 species and the type II GnRH receptor gene was disrupted in 14/22 species. Retention of large sections of each gene in most mammalian genomes suggests that mammalian ancestors had a functional GnRH-II system. Gene disruptions were due to a spectrum of mutations which must have occurred independently after the evolutionary divergence of mammals from ancestral animals. The genetic information will be useful for understanding the physiological role of the GnRH-II system and establishing animal models for functional studies.
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A role for kisspeptins in pregnancy: facts and speculations.
Reproduction
PUBLISHED: 03-31-2009
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Kisspeptin is a neuropeptide that was originally discovered in 1996 from a metastasis tumour suppressor gene, KISS1 and was appropriately named metastin. More recently, the discovery of inactivating mutations in the receptor for kisspeptin, a G protein-coupled receptor, GPR54 (KISS1R), have been shown to result in a failure to progress through puberty in man. These findings have led to the kisspeptin/KISS1R system being described as an essential gatekeeper of reproductive function. Recent studies have suggested additional roles of kisspeptin, other than in the central control of the gonadotropic axis including placentation and pregnancy, energy homeostasis and cardiovascular function. Therefore, kisspeptin-KISS1R signalling potentially plays diverse roles in human physiology. Here, we review the literature regarding the role and physiological significance of kisspeptin in pregnancy and highlight some of the key questions that require addressing.
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Discovery of potent kisspeptin antagonists delineate physiological mechanisms of gonadotropin regulation.
J. Neurosci.
PUBLISHED: 03-27-2009
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Neurons that produce gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) are the final common pathway by which the brain regulates reproduction. GnRH neurons are regulated by an afferent network of kisspeptin-producing neurons. Kisspeptin binds to its cognate receptor on GnRH neurons and stimulates their activity, which in turn provides an obligatory signal for GnRH secretion, thus gating down-stream events supporting reproduction. We have developed kisspeptin antagonists to facilitate the direct determination of the role of kisspeptin neurons in the neuroendocrine regulation of reproduction. In vitro and in vivo studies of analogues of kisspeptin-10 with amino substitutions have identified several potent and specific antagonists. A selected antagonist was shown to inhibit the firing of GnRH neurons in the brain of the mouse and to reduce pulsatile GnRH secretion in female pubertal monkeys; the later supporting a key role of kisspeptin in puberty onset. This analog also inhibited the kisspeptin-induced release of luteinizing hormone (LH) in rats and mice and blocked the postcastration rise in LH in sheep, rats, and mice, suggesting that kisspeptin neurons mediate the negative feedback effect of sex steroids on gonadotropin secretion in mammals. The development of kisspeptin antagonists provides a valuable tool for investigating the physiological and pathophysiological roles of kisspeptin in the regulation of reproduction and could offer a unique therapeutic agent for treating hormone-dependent disorders of reproduction, including precocious puberty, endometriosis, and metastatic prostate cancer.
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Differential expression and functional characterization of luteinizing hormone receptor splice variants in human luteal cells: implications for luteolysis.
Endocrinology
PUBLISHED: 02-26-2009
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The human LH receptor (LHR) plays a key role in luteal function and the establishment of pregnancy through its interaction with the gonadotropins LH and human chorionic gonadotropin. We previously identified four splice variants of the LHR in human luteinized granulosa cells (LGCs) and corpora lutea (CL). Real-time quantitative PCR revealed that expression of the full-length LHR (LHRa) and the most truncated form (LHRd) changed significantly in CL harvested at different stages of the ovarian cycle (P < 0.01, ANOVA). LHRa expression was reduced in the late luteal CL (P < 0.05). Conversely, an increase in LHRd expression was observed in the late luteal CL (P < 0.01). Chronic manipulation of human chorionic gonadotropin in LGC primary cultures supported the in vivo findings. LHRd encodes a protein lacking the transmembrane and carboxyl terminal domains. COS-7 cells expressing LHRd were unable to produce cAMP in response to LH stimulation. COS-7 cells coexpressing LHRd and LHRa also failed to generate cAMP in response to LH, suggesting that this truncated form has a negative effect on the signaling of LHRa. Immunofluorescence staining of LGC and COS-7 cells implied that there is a reduction in cell surface expression of LHRa when LHRd is present. Overall, these results imply expression of LHR splice variants is regulated in the human CL. Furthermore, during functional luteolysis a truncated variant could modulate the cell surface expression and activity of full-length LHR.
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Prokineticin 1 modulates IL-8 expression via the calcineurin/NFAT signaling pathway.
Biochim. Biophys. Acta
PUBLISHED: 01-23-2009
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Prokineticins and their receptors are expressed in various cellular compartments in human endometrium, with prokineticin 1 (PROK1) showing a dynamic pattern of expression across the menstrual cycle and during pregnancy. Previous studies suggest that PROK1 can play an important role in implantation and early pregnancy by inducing vascular remodeling and increasing vascular permeability. Here we demonstrate that PROK1 induces the expression of IL-8, a chemokine with angiogenic properties, in endometrial epithelial Ishikawa cells stably expressing prokineticin receptor 1 and in human first trimester decidua. We also show that IL-8 promoter activity is induced by PROK1 and that this requires the presence of AP1 and NFAT motifs. The role of calcineurin/NFAT signaling pathway is confirmed by the use of specific chemical inhibitors. Additionally, PROK1 induces the expression of the regulator of calcineurin 1 isoform 4 (RCAN1-4) via the calcineurin/NFAT pathway. A modulatory role for RCAN1-4 is demonstrated by RCAN1-4 overexpression which results in the inhibition of PROK1-induced IL-8 expression whereas reduction in RCAN1-4 endogenous expression results in an increase in PROK1-induced IL-8 production. Our findings show that in endometrial cells PROK1 can activate the calcineurin/NFAT pathway to induce IL-8 expression and that this is negatively modulated by the induction of expression of RCAN1-4.
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GnRH receptor expression in human prostate cancer cells is affected by hormones and growth factors.
Endocrine
PUBLISHED: 01-21-2009
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GnRH receptors (GnRH-R) have been found in various malignancies, including prostate cancer (PCa). They mediate the direct antitumor effects of GnRH analogs. Nevertheless, few reports concern drug-induced modulation of GnRH-R levels. In this study, we investigated GnRH-R expression in androgen-sensitive (LNCaP) and -insensitive (PC-3) PCa cells treated for 4 and 6 days with a GnRH agonist (Leuprorelin acetate, LA, 10(-11) or 10(-6) M), Dihydrotestosterone (DHT, 10(-9) M), Cyproterone acetate (CA, 10(-7) M), and Epidermal growth factor (EGF, 10 ng/ml), either alone or combined. The RT-PCR analysis showed no variation in GnRH-R mRNA levels of both treated LNCaP and PC-3 cells. On the contrary, immunoblotting indicated that in LNCaP and PC-3 cells, LA upregulated membrane GnRH-R expression (up to 92%). In androgen-sensitive cells, DHT induced a GnRH-R increase (up to 119%) always comparable to that occurring in the presence of CA. GnRH-R upregulation by LA/DHT or CA/DHT association was similar to that promoted by the single agents. In PC-3 cells, EGF upregulated GnRH-R (up to 110%). A prolonged treatment (for 12 days) determined a greater EGF-induced increase in GnRH-R levels (142%). Lower (or no) receptor enhancement occurred when LA and EGF were associated. Our findings indicate that LA post-transcriptionally upregulates its own membrane receptor in androgen-sensitive and -insensitive PCa cells, counteracting the receptor enhancement produced by DHT and EGF. The effects, obtained with a relatively long and continuous treatment, may have implications in the choice of therapy modality with GnRH analogs and may render the receptor a novel therapeutic target, particularly in hormone-refractory PCa.
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Probing the GnRH receptor agonist binding site identifies methylated triptorelin as a new anti-proliferative agent.
J Mol Biochem
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D-amino acid substitutions at glycine postion 6 in GnRH-I decapeptide can possess super-agonist activity and enhanced in vivo pharmacokinetics. Agonists elicit growth-inhibition in tumorigenic cells expressing the GnRH receptor above threshold levels. However, new agonists with modified properties are required to improve the anti-proliferative range. Effects of residue substitutions and methylations on tumourigenic HEK293[SCL60] and WPE-1-NB26-3 prostate cells expressing the rat GnRH receptor were compared. Peptides were ranked according to receptor binding affinity, induction of inositol phosphate production and cell growth-inhibition. Analogues possessing D-Trp(6) (including triptorelin), D-Leu(6) (including leuprolide), D-Ala(6), D-Lys(6), or D-Arg(6) exhibited agonist and anti-proliferative activity. Residues His(5) or His(5),Trp(7),Tyr(8), corresponding to residues found in GnRH-II, were tolerated, with retention of sub-nanomolar/low nanomolar binding affinities and EC50s for receptor activation and IC50s for cell growth-inhibition. His(5)D-Arg(6)-GnRH-I exhibited reduced binding affinity and potency, effective in the mid-nanomolar range. However, all GnRH-II-like analogues were less potent than triptorelin. By comparison, three methylated-Trp(6) triptorelin variants showed differential binding, receptor activation and anti-proliferation potency. Significantly, 5-Methyl-DL-Trp(6)-Triptorelin was equipotent to triptorelin. Subsequent studies should determine whether pharmacologically enhanced derivatives of triptorelin can be developed by further alkylations, without substitutions or cleavable cytotoxic adducts, to improve the extent of growth-inhibition of tumour cells expressing the GnRH receptor.
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Treatment of high risk Sertoli-Leydig cell tumors of the ovary using a gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) analog.
Pediatr Blood Cancer
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Sertoli-Leydig cell tumors are rare ovarian neoplasms. We report two unusual cases with bilateral SLCTs suggesting evidence of genetic predisposition and at high risk of recurrence. To reduce this risk, we exploited the use of GnRH analog to lower gondadotropin and potentially directly inhibit the tumors through expressed GnRH receptors. We used it as maintenance antitumor therapy for 2 years after completion of chemotherapy, to cover the period of risk for recurrence. Both patients remain in complete remission at >2 years after completing leuprorelin therapy. Of note, both patients carry DICER1 mutations, frequently found in pleuropulmonary blastoma syndrome.
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Evidence that dopamine acts via kisspeptin to hold GnRH pulse frequency in check in anestrous ewes.
Endocrinology
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Recent work has implicated stimulatory kisspeptin neurons in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) as important for seasonal changes in reproductive function in sheep, but earlier studies support a role for inhibitory A15 dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the suppression of GnRH (and LH) pulse frequency in the nonbreeding (anestrous) season. Because A15 neurons project to the ARC, we performed three experiments to test the hypothesis that A15 neurons act via ARC kisspeptin neurons to inhibit LH in anestrus: 1) we used dual immunocytochemistry to determine whether these ARC neurons contain D2 dopamine receptor (D2-R), the receptor responsible for inhibition of LH in anestrus; 2) we tested the ability of local administration of sulpiride, a D2-R antagonist, into the ARC to increase LH secretion in anestrus; and 3) we determined whether an antagonist to the kisspeptin receptor could block the increase in LH secretion induced by sulpiride in anestrus. In experiment 1, 40% of this ARC neuronal subpopulation contained D2-R in breeding season ewes, but this increased to approximately 80% in anestrus. In experiment 2, local microinjection of the two highest doses (10 and 50 nmol) of sulpiride into the ARC significantly increased LH pulse frequency to levels 3 times that seen with vehicle injections. Finally, intracerebroventricular infusion of a kisspeptin receptor antagonist completely blocked the increase in LH pulse frequency induced by systemic administration of sulpiride to anestrous ewes. These results support the hypothesis that DA acts to inhibit GnRH (and LH) secretion in anestrus by suppressing the activity of ARC kisspeptin neurons.
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GPR54-dependent stimulation of luteinizing hormone secretion by neurokinin B in prepubertal rats.
PLoS ONE
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Kisspeptin, neurokinin B (NKB) and dynorphin A (Dyn) are coexpressed within KNDy neurons that project from the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARC) to GnRH neurons and numerous other hypothalamic targets. Each of the KNDy neuropeptides has been implicated in regulating pulsatile GnRH/LH secretion. In isolation, kisspeptin is generally known to stimulate, and Dyn to inhibit LH secretion. However, the NKB analog, senktide, has variously been reported to inhibit, stimulate or have no effect on LH secretion. In prepubertal mice, rats and monkeys, senktide stimulates LH secretion. Furthermore, in the monkey this effect is dependent on kisspeptin signaling through its receptor, GPR54. The present study tested the hypotheses that the stimulatory effects of NKB on LH secretion in intact rats are mediated by kisspeptin/GPR54 signaling and are independent of a Dyn tone. To test this, ovarian-intact prepubertal rats were subjected to frequent automated blood sampling before and after intracerebroventricular injections of KNDy neuropeptide analogs. Senktide robustly induced single LH pulses, while neither the GPR54 antagonist, Kp-234, nor the Dyn agonist and antagonist (U50488 and nor-BNI, respectively) had an effect on basal LH levels. However, Kp-234 potently blocked the senktide-induced LH pulses. Modulation of the Dyn tone by U50488 or nor-BNI did not affect the senktide-induced LH pulses. These data demonstrate that the stimulatory effect of NKB on LH secretion in intact female rats is dependent upon kisspeptin/GPR54 signaling, but not on Dyn signaling.
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Hyperprolactinemia-induced ovarian acyclicity is reversed by kisspeptin administration.
J. Clin. Invest.
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Hyperprolactinemia is the most common cause of hypogonadotropic anovulation and is one of the leading causes of infertility in women aged 25-34. Hyperprolactinemia has been proposed to block ovulation through inhibition of GnRH release. Kisspeptin neurons, which express prolactin receptors, were recently identified as major regulators of GnRH neurons. To mimic the human pathology of anovulation, we continuously infused female mice with prolactin. Our studies demonstrated that hyperprolactinemia in mice induced anovulation, reduced GnRH and gonadotropin secretion, and diminished kisspeptin expression. Kisspeptin administration restored gonadotropin secretion and ovarian cyclicity, suggesting that kisspeptin neurons play a major role in hyperprolactinemic anovulation. Our studies indicate that administration of kisspeptin may serve as an alternative therapeutic approach to restore the fertility of hyperprolactinemic women who are resistant or intolerant to dopamine agonists.
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A role for intracellular calcium downstream of G-protein signaling in undifferentiated human embryonic stem cell culture.
Stem Cell Res
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Multiple signalling pathways maintain human embryonic stem cells (hESC) in an undifferentiated state. Here we sought to define the significance of G protein signal transduction in the preservation of this state distinct from other cellular processes. Continuous treatment with drugs targeting G(?s)-, G(?-i/o)- and G(?-q/11)-subunit signalling mediators were assessed in independent hESC lines after 7days to discern effects on normalised alkaline phosphatase positive colony frequency vs total cell content. This identified PLC?, intracellular free calcium and CAMKII kinase activity downstream of G(?-q/11) as of particular importance to the former. To confirm the significance of this finding we generated an agonist-responsive hESC line transgenic for a G(?-q/11) subunit-coupled receptor and demonstrated that an undifferentiated state could be promoted in the presence of an agonist without exogenously supplied bFGF and that this correlated with elevated intracellular calcium. Similarly, treatment of unmodified hESCs with a range of intracellular free calcium-modulating drugs in biologically defined mTESR culture system lacking exogenous bFGF promoted an hESC phenotype after 1week of continuous culture as defined by co-expression of OCT4 and NANOG. At least one of these drugs, lysophosphatidic acid significantly elevates phosphorylation of calmodulin and STAT3 in this culture system (p<0.05). These findings substantiate a role for G-protein and calcium signalling in undifferentiated hESC culture.
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Sex, stress and social status: patterns in fecal testosterone and glucocorticoid metabolites in male Ethiopian wolves.
Gen. Comp. Endocrinol.
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Ethiopian wolves, Canis simensis, live in large multi-male family packs, where males are philopatric and do not disperse. Within a pack, mating and breeding is largely monopolized by the dominant male and female, although extra-pack copulations are common, and subordinate males may sire pups in neighboring packs. Regardless of paternity, all males in a pack help rear the pups. We non-invasively studied patterns in fecal testosterone and glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations using radioimmunoassays of fecal samples collected from nine wild male Ethiopian wolves between August 2007 and February 2008. We tested the predictions of the Challenge Hypothesis, namely that fecal testosterone metabolite concentrations would be higher during the annual mating season, which is the portion of the reproductive cycle when mating and increased aggression typically occur, and lower when there were pups in the pack for which to care. Contrary to the predictions of the Challenge Hypothesis, we did not detect patterns in fecal testosterone metabolite concentrations associated with reproductive stage during our study period. Similarly, we found no patterns associated with reproductive stage in male fecal glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations. Dominant males had higher average fecal testosterone and glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations than did subordinates, which may be related to higher rates of aggression and mate guarding in dominant males of group-living canids, a pattern also reported in African wild dogs, Lycaon pictus.
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Kisspeptins and reproduction: physiological roles and regulatory mechanisms.
Physiol. Rev.
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Procreation is essential for survival of species. Not surprisingly, complex neuronal networks have evolved to mediate the diverse internal and external environmental inputs that regulate reproduction in vertebrates. Ultimately, these regulatory factors impinge, directly or indirectly, on a final common pathway, the neurons producing the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which stimulates pituitary gonadotropin secretion and thereby gonadal function. Compelling evidence, accumulated in the last few years, has revealed that kisspeptins, a family of neuropeptides encoded by the Kiss1 gene and produced mainly by neuronal clusters at discrete hypothalamic nuclei, are pivotal upstream regulators of GnRH neurons. As such, kisspeptins have emerged as important gatekeepers of key aspects of reproductive maturation and function, from sexual differentiation of the brain and puberty onset to adult regulation of gonadotropin secretion and the metabolic control of fertility. This review aims to provide a comprehensive account of the state-of-the-art in the field of kisspeptin physiology by covering in-depth the consensus knowledge on the major molecular features, biological effects, and mechanisms of action of kisspeptins in mammals and, to a lesser extent, in nonmammalian vertebrates. This review will also address unsolved and contentious issues to set the scene for future research challenges in the area. By doing so, we aim to endow the reader with a critical and updated view of the physiological roles and potential translational relevance of kisspeptins in the integral control of reproductive function.
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Congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism due to GnRH receptor mutations in three brothers reveal sites affecting conformation and coupling.
PLoS ONE
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Congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (CHH) is characterized by low gonadotropins and failure to progress normally through puberty. Mutations in the gene encoding the GnRH receptor (GNRHR1) result in CHH when present as compound heterozygous or homozygous inactivating mutations. This study identifies and characterizes the properties of two novel GNRHR1 mutations in a family in which three brothers display normosmic CHH while their sister was unaffected. Molecular analysis in the proband and the affected brothers revealed two novel non-synonymous missense GNRHR1 mutations, present in a compound heterozygous state, whereas their unaffected parents possessed only one inactivating mutation, demonstrating the autosomal recessive transmission in this kindred and excluding X-linked inheritance equivocally suggested by the initial pedigree analysis. The first mutation at c.845 C>G introduces an Arg substitution for the conserved Pro 282 in transmembrane domain (TMD) 6. The Pro282Arg mutant is unable to bind radiolabeled GnRH analogue. As this conserved residue is important in receptor conformation, it is likely that the mutation perturbs the binding pocket and affects trafficking to the cell surface. The second mutation at c.968 A>G introduces a Cys substitution for Tyr 323 in the functionally crucial N/DPxxY motif in TMD 7. The Tyr323Cys mutant has an increased GnRH binding affinity but reduced receptor expression at the plasma membrane and impaired G protein-coupling. Inositol phosphate accumulation assays demonstrated absent and impaired G?(q/11) signal transduction by Pro282Arg and Tyr323Cys mutants, respectively. Pretreatment with the membrane permeant GnRHR antagonist NBI-42902, which rescues cell surface expression of many GNRHR1 mutants, significantly increased the levels of radioligand binding and intracellular signaling of the Tyr323Cys mutant but not Pro282Arg. Immunocytochemistry confirmed that both mutants are present on the cell membrane albeit at low levels. Together these molecular deficiencies of the two novel GNRHR1 mutations lead to the CHH phenotype when present as a compound heterozygote.
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Kisspeptin restores pulsatile LH secretion in patients with neurokinin B signaling deficiencies: physiological, pathophysiological and therapeutic implications.
Neuroendocrinology
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Pulsatile gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is crucial to normal reproductive function and abnormalities in pulse frequency give rise to reproductive dysfunction. Kisspeptin and neurokinin B (NKB), neuropeptides secreted by the same neuronal population in the ventral hypothalamus, have emerged recently as critical central regulators of GnRH and thus gonadotropin secretion. Patients with mutations resulting in loss of signaling by either of these neuroendocrine peptides fail to advance through puberty but the mechanisms mediating this remain unresolved. We report here that continuous kisspeptin infusion restores gonadotropin pulsatility in patients with loss-of-function mutations in NKB (TAC3) or its receptor (TAC3R), indicating that kisspeptin on its own is sufficient to stimulate pulsatile GnRH secretion. Moreover, our findings suggest that NKB action is proximal to kisspeptin in the reproductive neuroendocrine cascade regulating GnRH secretion, and may act as an autocrine modulator of kisspeptin secretion. The ability of continuous kisspeptin infusion to induce pulsatile gonadotropin secretion further indicates that GnRH neurons are able to set up pulsatile secretion in the absence of pulsatile exogenous kisspeptin.
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Gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone inhibits GnRH-induced gonadotropin subunit gene transcriptions by inhibiting AC/cAMP/PKA-dependent ERK pathway in L?T2 cells.
Endocrinology
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A neuropeptide that directly inhibits gonadotropin secretion from the pituitary was discovered in quail and named gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH). The presence and functional roles of GnIH orthologs, RF-amide-related peptides (RFRP), that possess a common C-terminal LPXRF-amide (X = L or Q) motif have also been demonstrated in mammals. GnIH orthologs inhibit gonadotropin synthesis and release by acting on pituitary gonadotropes and GnRH neurons in the hypothalamus via its receptor (GnIH receptor). It is becoming increasingly clear that GnIH is an important hypothalamic neuropeptide controlling reproduction, but the detailed signaling pathway mediating the inhibitory effect of GnIH on target cells is still unknown. In the present study, we investigated the pathway of GnIH cell signaling and its possible interaction with GnRH signaling using a mouse gonadotrope cell line, L?T2. First, we demonstrated the expression of GnIH receptor mRNA in L?T2 cells by RT-PCR. We then examined the inhibitory effects of mouse GnIH orthologs [mouse RFRP (mRFRP)] on GnRH-induced cell signaling events. We showed that mRFRP effectively inhibited GnRH-induced cAMP signaling by using a cAMP-sensitive reporter system and measuring cAMP levels, indicating that mRFRP function as an inhibitor of adenylate cyclase. We further showed that mRFRP inhibited GnRH-stimulated ERK phosphorylation, and this effect was mediated by the inhibition of the protein kinase A pathway. Finally, we demonstrated that mRFRP inhibited GnRH-stimulated gonadotropin subunit gene transcriptions and also LH release. Taken together, the results indicate that mRFRP function as GnIH to inhibit GnRH-induced gonadotropin subunit gene transcriptions by inhibiting adenylate cyclase/cAMP/protein kinase A-dependent ERK activation in L?T2 cells.
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Inactivating KISS1 mutation and hypogonadotropic hypogonadism.
N. Engl. J. Med.
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Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is the central regulator of gonadotropins, which stimulate gonadal function. Hypothalamic neurons that produce kisspeptin and neurokinin B stimulate GnRH release. Inactivating mutations in the genes encoding the human kisspeptin receptor (KISS1R, formerly called GPR54), neurokinin B (TAC3), and the neurokinin B receptor (TACR3) result in pubertal failure. However, human kisspeptin loss-of-function mutations have not been described, and contradictory findings have been reported in Kiss1-knockout mice. We describe an inactivating mutation in KISS1 in a large consanguineous family that results in failure of pubertal progression, indicating that functional kisspeptin is important for puberty and reproduction in humans. (Funded by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey [TÜB?TAK] and others.).
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A canonical EF-loop directs Ca(2+) -sensitivity in phospholipase C-?2.
J. Cell. Biochem.
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Phospholipase C-? (PLC?) enzymes are a class of phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate-hydrolyzing enzymes involved in intracellular signaling. PLC?2 can sense Ca(2+) (stimulated by ?1?µM free Ca(2+) ) suggesting that it can amplify transient Ca(2+) signals. PLC? enzymes possess an EF-hand domain composed of two EF-loops; a canonical 12-residue loop (EF-loop 1) and a non-canonical 13-residue loop (EF-loop 2). Ca(2+) -binding to synthetic peptides corresponding to EF-loops 1 and 2 of PLC?2 and EF-loop 1 of calmodulin (as a control) was examined by 2D-[(1) H,(1) H] TOCSY NMR. Both PLC?2 EF-loop peptides bound Ca(2+) in a similar manner to that of the canonical calmodulin EF-loop 1, particularly at their N-terminus. A molecular model of the PLC?2 EF-hand domain, constructed based upon the structure of calmodulin, suggested both EF-loops may participate in Ca(2+) -binding. To determine whether the EF-hand is responsible for Ca(2+) -sensing, inositol phosphate accumulation was measured in COS7 cells transiently expressing wild-type or mutant PLC?2 proteins. Addition of 70?µM monensin (a Na(+) /H(+) antiporter that increases intracellular Ca(2+) ) induced a 4 to 7-fold increase in wild-type PLC?2 activity. In permeabilized cells, PLC?2 exhibited a ?4-fold increase in activity in the presence of 1?µM free Ca(2+) . The D256A (EF-loop1) mutant exhibited a ?10-fold reduction in Ca(2+) -sensitivity and was not activated by monensin, highlighting the involvement of EF-loop 1 in Ca(2+) -sensing. Involvement of EF-loop 2 was examined using D292A, H296A, Q297A and E304A mutants. Interestingly, the monensin responses and Ca(2+) -sensitivities were largely unaffected by the mutations, indicating that the non-canonical EF-loop 2 is not involved in Ca(2+) -sensing. J. Cell. Biochem. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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