Pituitary glycoprotein hormone oligosaccharides: Structure, synthesis and function of the asparagine-linked oligosaccharides on lutropin, follitropin and thyrotropin

Jacques U. Baenziger, Eric D. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

271 Scopus citations

Abstract

Luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) from pituitary and chorionic gonadotropin (CG) from placenta are a family of closely related glycoproteins. Each hormone is a heterodimer, consisting of an α- and a β-subunit. Within an animal species, the α-subunits of all four glycoprotein hormones have an identical amino acid sequence, whereas each β-subunit is distinct and confers hormone-specific features to the heterodimer. LH and FSH are synthesized within the same cell, the gonadotroph of the anterior pituitary, but are predominantly stored in separate secretory granules. We have characterized the asparagine-linked oligosaccharides on bovine, ovine and human LH, FSH and TSH. The various pituitary hormones were found to contain unique sulfated oligosaccharides with the terminal sequence SO4-4GalNAcβ1 → 4GlcNAcβ1 → 2Manα, sialylated oligosaccharides with the terminal sequence SAαGalβGlcNAcβManα, or both sulfated and sialylated structures. Despite synthesis of LH and FSH in the same pituitary cell, sulfated oligosaccharides predominate on LH while sialylated oligosaccharides predominate on FSH for all three animal species. We have examined the reactions leading to synthesis of the sulfated oligosaccharides to determine which steps are hormone specific. The sulfotransferase is oligosaccharide specific, requiring only the sequence GalNAcβ1 → 4GlcNAcβ1 → 2Manα. In contrast, the GalNAc-transferase appears to be protein specific, accounting for the preferential addition of GalNAc to LH, TSH, and free (uncombined) α-subunits compared with FSH and other pituitary glycoproteins. The predominance of sulfated oligosaccharide structures on LH may account for sorting of LH and FSH into separate secretory granules. Differences in sulfation and sialylation of LH, FSH and TSH may also play a role in the regulation of hormone bioactivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-306
Number of pages20
JournalBBA - Reviews on Biomembranes
Volume947
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 9 1988

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