Granulosa cells are essential for follicular development and corpus luteum formation and their functions are regulated by gonadotrophins through G protein-coupled receptors. The dominant second messenger pathway involves the stimulation of cyclic AMP formation by Gαs-linked receptors. In this paper we have investigated the expression of Gαs mRNA splice variants in relation to expression of Gαs protein isoforms in granulosa cells obtained from patients undergoing in vitro fertilization. We have carried out ribonuclease protection assays using cRNA riboprobes which are capable of detecting all Gαs mRNA isoforms as well as quantifying total amounts of Gαs mRNA. Granulosa cells express the message for Gαs-Large and Gαs-Small and the presence of two distinct protein products was confirmed by immunoblotting using the antibody RM/1. Moreover, the data show that a significant fraction of Gαs-Large and Gαs-Small mRNAs contain an extra CAG codon. This should generate proteins with an extra serine residue, resulting in Gαs variants with the consensus sequence of a protein kinase C phosphorylation site. These results highlight the possible interaction between different signalling pathways in the control of cAMP production and the need to investigate the relationship between Gαs variants and different adenylyl cyclase isozymes in patients with normal and abnormal ovarian function.
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