Heparan sulfate 6-O-sulfotransferase 1, a gene involved in extracellular sugar modifications, is mutated in patients with idiopathic hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Jul 12;108(28):11524-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1102284108. Epub 2011 Jun 23.


Neuronal development is the result of a multitude of neural migrations, which require extensive cell-cell communication. These processes are modulated by extracellular matrix components, such as heparan sulfate (HS) polysaccharides. HS is molecularly complex as a result of nonrandom modifications of the sugar moieties, including sulfations in specific positions. We report here mutations in HS 6-O-sulfotransferase 1 (HS6ST1) in families with idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH). IHH manifests as incomplete or absent puberty and infertility as a result of defects in gonadotropin-releasing hormone neuron development or function. IHH-associated HS6ST1 mutations display reduced activity in vitro and in vivo, suggesting that HS6ST1 and the complex modifications of extracellular sugars are critical for normal development in humans. Genetic experiments in Caenorhabditis elegans reveal that HS cell-specifically regulates neural branching in vivo in concert with other IHH-associated genes, including kal-1, the FGF receptor, and FGF. These findings are consistent with a model in which KAL1 can act as a modulatory coligand with FGF to activate the FGF receptor in an HS-dependent manner.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism
  • Child
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / genetics
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism
  • Female
  • Genes, Helminth
  • Humans
  • Hypogonadism / enzymology*
  • Hypogonadism / genetics*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Kallmann Syndrome / enzymology
  • Kallmann Syndrome / genetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation*
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Pedigree
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 1 / genetics
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 1 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / genetics
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / metabolism
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Species Specificity
  • Sulfotransferases / chemistry
  • Sulfotransferases / deficiency
  • Sulfotransferases / genetics*
  • Sulfotransferases / metabolism


  • ANOS1 protein, human
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • EGL-15 protein, C elegans
  • Egl-17 protein, C elegans
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor
  • FGFR1 protein, human
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 1
  • Sulfotransferases
  • heparan sulfate 6-O-sulfotransferase