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G Baumann and SJ Frank

The metzincin metalloproteinase, tumor necrosis factor-alpha-converting enzyme (TACE), also known as ADAM (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase) 17, has recently been identified as an important enzyme for cleavage of the GH receptor (GHR) and shedding of GH-binding protein (GHBP). Proteolysis can be induced by phorbol esters, platelet-derived growth factor and serum; it is dependent on protein kinase C and partially on MAP kinase pathways. Proteolysis occurs at the cell surface, leading to extracellular release of GHBP and intracellular GHR remnant accumulation. The GHR remnant is further processed by gamma-secretase activity, possibly leading to biologically active products. TACE-dependent GHR proteolysis can be inhibited by GH as the dimerized GHR is resistant to cleavage. The cleavage site lies within a short juxtamembranous stem region that extends between the transmembrane helix and the globular dimerization domain of the GHR. GHR proteolysis leads to downregulation of functional GHRs at the cell surface, and has complex secondary effects on GH action via GHBP and GHR remnant generation.

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J Wook Kim, RP Rhoads, SS Block, TR Overton, SJ Frank, and YR Boisclair

At parturition, dairy cows experience a 70% reduction in plasma IGF-I. This reduction coincides with decreased abundance of GHR1A, the liver-specific transcript of the growth hormone receptor (GHR) gene, suggesting impaired growth hormone-dependent synthesis of IGF-I. It is not immediately obvious that the periparturient reduction in GHR1A is sufficient to reduce hepatic GHR abundance. This is because approximately 50% of total GHR mRNA abundance in prepartum liver is accounted for by ubiquitously expressed transcripts which remain collectively unchanged at parturition. In addition, the possibility that parturition alters GHR expression in other growth hormone target tissue has not been examined. To address these questions, we measured GHR gene expression and GHR protein in liver and skeletal muscle of four dairy cows on days -35,+3 and+56 (relative to parturition on day 0). Hepatic GHR abundance and GHR1A transcripts were lower on day+3 than on day -35 and returned to late pregnancy value by day+56. Additional studies in two other groups of cows indicated that the hepatic levels of the GHR protein recovered substantially within 10 days after parturition. These changes occurred without variation in the abundance of HNF4, a liver-enriched transcription factor activating the promoter responsible for GHR1A synthesis. In contrast to liver, levels of GHR gene expression and GHR protein were identical on days -35,+3 and+56 in skeletal muscle. These data suggest a role for the GHR in regulating tissue-specific changes in growth hormone responsiveness in periparturient dairy cows.