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1) The human luteinizing hormone (LH)/chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) receptor (LHCGR) discriminates its two hormone ligands and differs from the murine receptor (Lhr) in amino acid residues potentially involved in qualitative discerning of LH and hCG. The latter gonadotropin is absent in rodents. The aim of the study is to identify LHCGR residues involved in hCG/LH discrimination. (2) Eight LHCGR cDNAs were developed, carrying "murinizing" mutations on aminoacidic residues assumed to interact specifically with LH, hCG, or both. HEK293 cells expressing a mutant or the wild type receptor were treated with LH or hCG and the kinetics of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) and phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (pERK1/2) activation was analyzed by bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET). (3) Mutations falling within the receptor leucine reach repeat 9 and 10 (LRR9 and LRR10; K225S +T226I and R247T), of the large extracellular binding domain, are linked to loss of hormone-specific induced cAMP increase, as well as hCG-specific pERK1/2 activation, leading to a Lhr-like modulation of the LHCGR-mediated intracellular signaling pattern. These results support the hypothesis that LHCGR LRR domain is the interaction site of the hormone β-L2 loop, which differs between LH and hCG, and might be fundamental for inducing gonadotropin-specific signals. (4) Taken together, these data identify LHCGR key residues likely evolved in the human to discriminate LH/hCG specific binding.


Clara Lazzaretti, Valentina Secco, Elia Paradiso, Samantha Sperduti, Claudia Rutz, Annika Kreuchwig, Gerd Krause, Manuela Simoni, Livio Casarini. Identification of Key Receptor Residues Discriminating Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)- and Luteinizing Hormone (LH)-Specific Signaling. International journal of molecular sciences. 2020 Dec 25;22(1)

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PMID: 33375708

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