A molecular dissection of the glycoprotein hormone receptors

Trends Biochem Sci. 2004 Mar;29(3):119-26. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2004.01.006.


In glycoprotein hormone receptors, a subfamily of rhodopsin-like G protein-coupled receptors, the recognition and activation steps are carried out by separate domains of the proteins. Specificity of recognition of the hormones thyrotropin (TSH), lutropin (LH), human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and follitropin (FSH) involves leucine-rich repeats (LRRs) present in an N-terminal ectodomain, and can be associated with a limited number of residues at key positions of the LRRs. The mechanism by which binding of the hormones results in activation is proposed to involve switching of the ectodomain from a tethered inverse agonist to a full agonist of the serpentine, rhodopsin-like region of the receptor. Unexpectedly, the picture is complicated by the observation that promiscuous activation of one of the receptors (FSHr) by hCG or TSH can result from activating mutations affecting the serpentine region of the receptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mutation
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Receptors, FSH / chemistry*
  • Receptors, FSH / metabolism
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / chemistry
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism
  • Receptors, Gonadotropin / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Gonadotropin / metabolism
  • Receptors, LH / chemistry*
  • Receptors, LH / metabolism
  • Receptors, Thyrotropin / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Thyrotropin / metabolism


  • Receptors, FSH
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Receptors, Gonadotropin
  • Receptors, LH
  • Receptors, Thyrotropin