Pituitary equine luteinizing hormone (eLH) and fetal chorionic gonadotrophin (eCG) have identical polypeptidic chains, but different linked carbohydrates. In equine tissues, eCG and eLH bind only to the LH/CG receptor (eLH/CG-R) and have no FSH activity. However, radio-receptor assays on equine luteal or testicular tissues have shown that eCG binds to the eLH/CG-R with only 2–4% of the binding activity of eLH. In order to study the structure–function relationship of eLH and eCG in a homologous sytem, we undertook the cloning and functional expression of the eLH/CG-R.
Based on sequence homologies among mammalian sequences for the LH/CG-R, overlapping partial fragments of LH/CG-R cDNAs were obtained from mare luteal RNA using reverse transcription-PCR and 5′-rapid amplification of cDNA ends. Ligations of the partial cDNA fragments encoded a part of the signal peptide followed by a putative 672 amino acid eLH/CG-R mature protein. The mature eLH/CG-R displayed 88.2–92.8% overall sequence homology with the other mammalian LH/CG-Rs and contained one unique seventh N-glycosylation site in its extracellular domain.
COS-7 cells were transiently transfected with a cDNA construct encoding an engineered complete signal peptide and the mature eLH/CG-R. Membrane preparations from transfected COS-7 cells bound 125I-eLH with high affinity (K d 3.8 × 10−10 M). On a molar basis, eCG competed with 125I-eLH on membrane preparations with only 12.4% of the eLH binding activity. In transfected COS-7, both eLH and eCG increased the extracellular cAMP concentration in a dose-dependent manner, whereas eFSH did not. Furthermore, on a molar basis, eCG stimulated cAMP production with only 13.9% of the eLH stimulating activity.
We conclude that the cloned cDNA encodes a The differences functional eLH/CG-R. between eLH and eCG activities towards this receptor will be useful in studies of the influence of carbohydrates on gonadotrophin receptor binding and activation.