Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Placenta- and Pituitary-Specific Expression of the Glycoprotein Hormone α-Subunit Gene

  • John H. Nilson
Part of the Serono Symposia USA Norwell, Massachusetts book series (SERONOSYMP)


All vertebrates synthesize three different pituitary glycoprotein hormones: luteinizing hormone (lutropin, LH), follicle stimulating hormone (folli-tropin, FSH), and thyroid stimulating hormone (thyrotropin, TSH). Chorionic gonadotropin (CG) is structurally related to LH, but is synthesized in the placenta of only primates and equids. All these glycoprotein hormones are heterodimers composed of a noncovalently associated α-and β-subunit. The α-subunit is encoded by a single gene in all mammals examined to date. Thus, within a species, all glycoprotein hormones contain the same α-subunit. In contrast, each glycoprotein hormone contains a unique β-subunit encoded by a discrete β-subunit gene. The β-subunit, then, is responsible for the distinctive biological character of each glycoprotein hormone (reviewed in references 1, 2).


Chorionic Gonadotropin Glycoprotein Hormone Upstream Regulatory Element Human Choriocarcinoma Cell Pituitary Glycoprotein Hormone 
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© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1993

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  • John H. Nilson

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