Models of glycoprotein hormone receptor interaction

Endocrine. 2005 Apr;26(3):189-205. doi: 10.1385/ENDO:26:3:189.


The glycoprotein hormones regulate reproduction and development through their interactions with receptors in ovarian, testicular, and thyroid tissues. Efforts to design hormone agonists and antagonists useful for treat-ing infertility and hyperthyroidism would benefit from a molecular understanding of hormone-receptor interaction. The structure of a complex containing FSH bound to a fragment of its receptor has been determined at 2.9 Angstroms resolution, but this does not explain several observations made with cell-surface G protein receptors and may reflect the manner in which FSH binds a short alternate spliced receptor form. We discuss observations that must be explained by any model of the cell-surface G protein-coupled glycoprotein hormone receptors and suggest structures for these receptors that satisfy these requirements. Glycoprotein hormones appear to contact two distinct sites in the extracellular domains of their receptors, not just the leucine-rich repeat domain. These dual contacts contribute to ligand binding specificity and appear to be essential for signal transduction. As outlined in this minireview, differences in the manners in which these ligands contact their receptors explain why some ligands and ligand analogs interact with more than one class of receptor and why some receptors and receptor analogs bind more than one ligand. The unique manner in which these ligands appear to interact with their receptors may have facilitated hormone and receptor co-evolution during early vertebrate speciation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / metabolism
  • Gonadotropins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Interaction Mapping*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Receptors, FSH / metabolism
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Gonadotropins
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, FSH
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone