Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 3 of 3 items for

  • Author: M Ludgate x
  • Refine by Access: All content x
Clear All Modify Search
Restricted access

S Costagliola, L Alcalde, J Ruf, G Vassart, and M Ludgate


The availability of high affinity antibodies to the human TSH receptor (TSHR) would help in defining its functional domains, but this requires the production of pure receptor as immunogen. We have expressed the extracellular domain (ECD) of the TSHR (residues 21–414) as a fusion protein with maltose-binding protein (MBP) in Escherichia coli, using the pMAL-cRl vector. The major protein in an electrophoretically separated, crude bacterial lysate had a molecular mass of 89 kDa, in agreement with the size predicted for the MBP-ECD fusion product. Its identity was confirmed by Western blotting in which it was recognized by two polyclonal antibodies to synthetic peptides of the TSHR and an anti-MBP. Following purification on an amylose column, 15 mg pure MBP-ECD per litre of culture were produced, which was 5% of the total bacterial protein. Following extensive dialysis in a buffer which produces slight denaturation, MBP-ECD was cleaved with factor Xa. The identity of each protein was confirmed by Western blotting.

To investigate the possibility of using the fusion protein as an immunogen we produced rabbit polyclonal antibodies to the ECD which were able to produce immunofluorescent staining of Chinese hamster ovary cells that expressed the TSHR, and revealed a protein of 95 kDa in Western blots of the same cells, in addition to a protein of 55 kDa. Only the protein of 55 kDa was detected in Western blots of human thyroid membranes. Subsequently, immunoglobulins from mice immunized with MBP-ECD were shown to contain TSH-binding inhibiting activity and to inhibit TSH-mediated cyclic AMP production; these mice had a lower serum thyroxine level when compared with mice immunized with the MBP—β galactosidase fusion protein MBP-GAL.

The study shows the feasibility of using recombinant TSHR expressed in E. coli (i) to produce antibodies which recognize the native receptor and thus could be applied to studies of TSHR expression (e.g. in thyroid tumours), (ii) to establish animal models of autoimmune hypothyroidism and (iii) as the starting material in denaturation and refolding experiments which may help in defining structure—function relationships.

Free access

KJ Starkey, A Janezic, G Jones, N Jordan, G Baker, and M Ludgate

The thyrotrophin receptor (TSHR) provides an autoantigenic link between the thyroid and orbit in Graves' (GD) and thyroid eye diseases (TED). We measured TSHR transcripts in different fat depots to determine whether TSHR expression levels are influenced by the autoimmune/inflammatory process and/or thyroid hormone status, using quantitative real-time PCR. Nine intact or fractionated adipose samples, from patients with GD and/or TED, were analysed ex vivo. Eight expressed the TSHR, at levels approaching the thyroid, and one was at the limit of detection. Thirteen/fifteen orbital and abdominal fat samples from patients free of GD and TED, measured ex vivo, were negative for TSHR transcripts and two were at the limit of detection. All preadipocyte samples induced to differentiate in vitro expressed the TSHR. To investigate the influence of thyroid hormone status on adipose TSHR expression, we induced hyper- and hypothyroidism in BALBc mice by administering tri-iodothyronine and propylthiouracil respectively. In euthyroid animals, whole fat samples were at the limit of detection and were not altered by thyroid hormone status. The results show that adipose TSHR expression ex vivo indicates adipogenesis in progress in vivo and is associated with the autoimmune/inflammatory process in GD and TED but is not restricted to the orbit or influenced by thyroid hormone status.

Free access

F Al-Khafaji, M Wiltshire, D Fuhrer, G Mazziotti, M D Lewis, P J Smith, and M Ludgate

Epidemiological studies have revealed a significantly higher incidence of toxic adenoma (TA) and toxic multi-nodular goitre (TMNG) in regions of iodine deficiency. Fifty to eighty percent of TA and TMNG are caused by activation of the cAMP pathway, mostly by mutations in the thyrotrophin receptor (TSHR).

We aimed to investigate whether iodide could modulate the biological effects of activating TSHR mutations. We have applied an in vitro model of TA comprising FRTL-5 cells stably expressing activating TSHR. We have mimicked the in vivo situation by examining the effects of prolonged exposure to iodide on the proliferation and signal transduction etc. of these cells.

We observed an iodide-induced ‘inhibition of proliferation’ which was significant from 10 mM in the presence of serum but from 1 mM in its absence. The inhibition of proliferation was significantly higher in the activating mutant expressing FRTL-5 compared with control Neo or wild-type TSHR, indicating that the effect was mediated via the cAMP cascade. The effect was neither due to hyper-tonicity nor was it the result of an increase in cell death either by apoptosis or necrosis. Prolonged exposure to iodide produces an increase in cells in the G2 and post-G2 phases, indicating that G2/M blockade contributes to the mechanism of inhibition.

The mutant expressing FRTL-5 cells have increased proliferation when chronically exposed to TSH, and this is associated with a reduction in phosphorylated (p) CREB levels. This contrasts with the effect of iodide in which inhibition of proliferation is accompanied by an increase in pCREB.

In conclusion, our studies indicate that the biological effects of activating TSHR mutations vary with the ambient iodide supply and could be masked in regions of high iodine intake.