Structural differences in the hinge region of the glycoprotein hormone receptors: Evidence from the sulfated tyrosine residues

Marco Bonomi, Marta Busnelli, Luca Persani, Gilbert Vassart, Sabine Costagliola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tyrosine sulfation is a late posttranslational modification of proteins that takes place in the Golgi network. In the past few years, this process has been identified as an important modulator of protein-protein interactions. Sulfated tyrosine residues have recently been identified in the C-terminal, so-called hinge region of the ectodomain of glycoprotein hormone receptors [TSH, LH/chorionic gonadotropin (CG), and FSH receptors] and were shown to play an important role in the interaction with their natural ligands. The position of two sulfated tyrosine residues in a Y-D/E-Y motif appears perfectly conserved in the alignment of TSH and LH receptors from different species, and site-directed mutagenesis experiments demonstrated that sulfation of the first residue of this motif was responsible for the functional effect on hormone binding. In contrast, the corresponding motif is not conserved in the FSH receptor, in which the first tyrosine residue is missing: the Y-D/E-Y motif is replaced by F 333DY 335. We extend here our previous observation that, in this case, it is sulfation of the second sole tyrosine residue in the motif that is functionally important. An LH/CG receptor harboring an F 331DY 333 motif (i.e. displaying decreased sensitivity to human CG) was used as a backbone in which short portions of the FSH receptor were substituted. Segments from the FSH receptor capable of restoring sensitivity to human CG were identified by transfection of the chimeras in COS-7 cells. These experiments identified key amino acid residues in the hinge region of the FSH receptor associated with the functional role of the second sulfated tyrosine residue in a Y-D/E-Y motif, allowing for efficient hormone binding. The experiments represent strong evidence that structural differences in the hinge regions of FSH and LH/CG receptors play a significant role in hormone-receptor-specific recognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3351-3363
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Endocrinology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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