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L Abdennebi, L Couture, D Grebert, E Pajot, R Salesse, and JJ Remy

Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) via interaction with G-protein coupled specific receptors plays a central role in the control of gametogenesis in mammals of both sexes. In females, FSH is crucial for follicle growth, follicle maturation and ovulation. FSH receptors, together with luteinizing hormone-chorionic gonadotropin and thyrotropin receptors belong to a subfamily of structurally related receptors within the seven transmembrane receptor family. Among several other regions, the N-terminus of these receptors is believed to be responsible for important specific hormone-receptor contact sites. Recombinant filamentous phages displaying at their surface three overlapping N-terminal decapeptides of the FSH receptor, peptides A18-27, B25-34 and C29-38 were constructed. Ewes and female mice were immunized against the three FSH receptor (FSHR) recombinant phages. Immunoglobulins purified from immunized animals were analyzed for their biochemical properties on a Chinese hamster ovary cell line expressing the porcine FSH receptor. AntiA and antiB immunoglobulins (IgGs) behave as antagonists for 125I-FSH binding and for FSH-dependent cAMP production, while antiC IgGs did not compete for hormone binding. By contrast, antibodies against the C29-38 peptide displayed FSH agonist activity and stimulated the FSH receptor, whereas antiA and antiB IgGs did not. Furthermore, when the FSHR phages were used as peptidic vaccines, they induced a reversible inhibition of ovulation rate in ewes, and impaired fertility in female mice.

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V Bozon, J-J Remy, E Pajot-Augy, L Couture, G Biache, M Severini, and R Salesse


Overexpression of the porcine LH receptor (pLHR) ectodomain has been achieved using the baculovirusinsect cell system but mostly in an aggregated form with no secretion. In order to carry this out, new baculoviruses were selected to produce the pLHR ectodomain in insect Sf9 cells and caterpillars. In pLHR-P10–297 and pLHR-mel-319 baculoviruses, pLHR cDNA was under the control of the P10 promoter and the polyhedrin gene promoter respectively.

The constructs contained either the porcine signal peptide (pLHR-P10–297) or the insect signal peptide of melittin (pLHR-mol-319). Infected cells produced 1 × 105−3 × 105 receptors/cell 3 days after infection. The recombinant LH receptor ectodomains produced were secreted in a biologically active form and bound the hormone with high affinity. Infected caterpillars produced a larger amount of active pLHR ectodomain than insect cells. The products were not secreted into the haemolymph however.

Promoter and/or signal peptide modifications therefore enabled pLHR recombinant ectodomain secretion in a biologically active form, using the baculovirus—lepidopteran cell system. Moreover, moderate levels of expression seem to allow the production of biologically active ectodomain.

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E Pajot-Augy, L Couture, V Bozon, J-J Remy, G Biache, M Severini, J-C Huer, J-C Pernoller, and R Salesse


Porcine LH receptor ectodomain was overexpressed in insect cells and lepidopteran larvae using the recombinant baculovirus expression system. A low multiplicity of infection yielded the largest active production, of approximately 107 receptors/cell or 3 μg active receptor/mg total protein in infected cells. The truncated ectodomain solubilized with Triton X-100 bound its ligand with a high affinity which was comparable with that of the native membrane receptor. Increasing the multiplicity of infection resulted in an optimum protein production of 0·6 mg receptor/mg total protein in infected cells. This receptor was largely inactive, probably trapped within aggregation pools. Active receptor could be recovered by dilution of the samples. No secretion of recombinant receptor was ever observed whatever the conditions of infection. Expression of the recombinant receptor in insect larvae was also tested. This low-cost system failed both to increase the amount of active receptor and to induce secretion into the haemolymph. Two methods remain for producing sizeable amounts of active receptor with this baculovirus/insect cell system. One relies on immunoaffinity purification of the active protein and requires large-scale production, and the other is based on the purification of overexpressed inactive receptor followed by renaturation.

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L Couture, H Naharisoa, D Grebert, J-J Remy, E Pajot-Augy, V Bozon, T Haertle, and R Salesse


The LH/hCG receptor is a G protein-coupled receptor with an N-terminal extracellular domain involved in hormone—receptor interaction. The recombinant porcine receptor, stably expressed in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, has the same characteristics (K d and cAMP production) as in Leydig cells. Six synthetic peptides derived from the receptor ectodomain and two polyclonal anti-peptide sera were tested in the homologous system porcine LH and porcine LH receptor. Their ability to inhibit hormone binding and signal transduction on CHO cells expressing the recombinant receptor was evaluated. Peptides 25–40 and 107–121 exhibited a high transduction inhibition as compared with hormone binding, peptides 21–36, 102–111, and 102–121 inhibited hormone binding more efficiently than signal transduction, and peptide 7–24 exhibited inhibition of both hormone binding and hormone-induced cAMP production. Immuno-globulins against peptides 21–36 and 102–111 inhibited both hormone binding and receptor activation suggesting that these sequences are located on the receptor surface.

The data suggest that multiple, discontinuous regions of the extracellular domain of porcine LH receptor are involved in hormone binding and signal transduction. Two minimum critical sequences, 21–24 and 102–107, are involved in hormone binding and vicinal segments may be implicated in signal transduction.