Background: Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is an important hormone responsible for growth, maturation and function of the human reproductive system. FSH regulates the synthesis of steroid hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, proliferation and maturation of follicles in the ovary and spermatogenesis in the testes. FSH is a glycoprotein heterodimer that binds and acts through the FSH receptor, a G-protein coupled receptor. Although online pathway repositories provide information about G-protein coupled receptor mediated signal transduction, the signaling events initiated specifically by FSH are not cataloged in any public database in a detailed fashion.
Findings: We performed comprehensive curation of the published literature to identify the components of FSH signaling pathway and the molecular interactions that occur upon FSH receptor activation. Our effort yielded 64 reactions comprising 35 enzyme-substrate reactions, 11 molecular association events, 11 activation events and 7 protein translocation events that occur in response to FSH receptor activation. We also cataloged 265 genes, which were differentially expressed upon FSH stimulation in normal human reproductive tissues.
Conclusions: We anticipate that the information provided in this resource will provide better insights into the physiological role of FSH in reproductive biology, its signaling mediators and aid in further research in this area. The curated FSH pathway data is freely available through NetPath (http://www.netpath.org), a pathway resource developed previously by our group.