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K A Brown, D Boerboom, N Bouchard, M Doré, J G Lussier, and J Sirois

Aldo–keto reductases (AKRs) are multifunctional enzymes capable of acting on a wide variety of substrates, including sex steroids. AKRs having 20α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (20α-HSD) activity can reduce progesterone to 20α-hydroxy-4-pregnen-3-one (20α-DHP), a metabolite with lower affinity for the progesterone receptor. The objective of this study was to investigate the regulation of equine AKR1C23 during human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)-induced ovulation/luteinization. The equine AKR1C23 cDNA was cloned and shown to encode a 322 amino acid protein that is conserved (71–81% identity) when compared with mammalian orthologs. RT-PCR/Southern blotting analyses were performed to study the regulation of AKR1C23 transcripts in equine preovulatory follicles isolated between 0 and 39 h after hCG treatment (ovulation occurring 39–42 h post-hCG). Results showed the presence of low AKR1C23 expression before hCG treatment, but a marked increase was observed in follicles obtained 12 h after hCG (P<0.05). Analyses of isolated preparations of granulosa and theca interna cells identified low mRNA expression in both cell types prior to hCG treatment, with granulosa cells clearly being the predominant site of follicular AKR1C23 mRNA induction. A specific polyclonal antibody was raised against a fragment of the equine protein and immunoblotting analyses showed an increase in AKR1C23 protein in granulosa cell extracts when comparing follicles isolated at 36 h post-hCG vs those collected prior to treatment, in keeping with mRNA results. Immunohistochemical data confirmed the induction of the enzyme in follicular cells after hCG treatment. The enzyme was tested for 20α-HSD activity and was shown to exhibit a K M of 3.12 μM, and a Vmax of 0.86 pmol/min per 10 μg protein towards progesterone. The levels of 20α-DHP measured in follicular fluid reflected this activity. Collectively, these results demonstrate for the first time that the gonadotropin-dependent induction of follicular luteinization is accompanied by an increase in AKR1C23 expression. Considering the 20α-HSD activity of AKR1C23, its regulated expression in luteinizing preovulatory follicles may provide a biochemical basis for the increase in ovarian 20α-DHP observed during gonadotropin-induced luteinization/ovulation. (The nucleotide sequence reported in this paper has been submitted to GenBank with accession number AY955082.)

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D W Silversides, A Houde, J-F Ethier, and J G Lussier


The complete coding sequence for the bovine thyrotropin (TSH) receptor was derived using a modified PCR cloning strategy. The bovine thyrotropin receptor conforms to the pattern of receptor interacting with membrane-bound G-protein already established in other species for TSH and gonadotropins receptors. The cDNA for the bovine TSH receptor consists of an open reading frame 2289 nucleotides in length, corresponding to a protein of 763 amino acids (estimated molecular mass of 86·4 kDa) which includes a 20 amino acid putative leading signal peptide. The receptor consists of a large NH2-terminal extracellular membrane domain of 417 amino acids with 5 potential N-linked glycosylation sites, a transmembrane domain (265 amino acids) consisting of 7 putative membrane α-helix spanning segments, and an intracytoplasmic COOH-terminal domain (82 amino acids). The bovine TSH receptor is one amino acid less than the corresponding sequence in dog, human, rat and mouse. Cysteine residues (n=22) were conserved when compared with other TSH receptors. Three potential phosphorylation sites were found in the transmembrane domain and the COOH-terminal domain. As with other members of this receptor family, alternative splicing was observed. A transcribed but truncated TSH receptor of 1769 nucleotides was demonstrated, lacking half of the V segment of the transmembrane domain up to the COOH-terminal domain of the full length TSH receptor. Additionally, alternative transcriptional start sites were observed. Northern blot analysis using a probe (1170 bp) spanning part of the extracellular domain up to the first loop of the transmembrane domain showed specific expression in the bovine thyroid gland with major transcripts of 9·3 and 4·3 kb, and a minor transcript of 3·8 kb being detected.