Welcoming β-catenin to the gonadotropin-releasing hormone transcriptional network in gonadotropes

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 6-1-2008


GnRH binds its G-coupled protein receptor, GnRHR, on pituitary gonadotropes and stimulates transcription of Cga, Lhb, and Fshb. These three genes encode two heterodimeric glycoprotein hormones, LH and FSH, that act as gonadotropins by regulating gametogenesis and steroidogenesis in both the testes and ovary. GnRH also regulates transcription of Gnrhr. Thus, regulated expression of Cga, Lhb, Fshb, and Gnrhr provides a genomic signature unique to functional gonadotropes. Steadily increasing evidence now indicates that GnRH regulates transcription of its four signature genes indirectly through a hierarchical transcriptional network that includes distinct subclasses of DNA-binding proteins that comprise the immediate early gene (IEG) family. These IEGs, in turn, confer hormonal responsiveness to the four signature genes. Although the IEGs confer responsiveness to GnRH, they cannot act alone. Instead, additional DNA-binding proteins, including the orphan nuclear receptor steroidogenic factor 1, act permissively to allow the four signature genes to respond to GnRH-induced changes in IEG levels. Emerging new findings now indicate that β-catenin, a transcriptional coactivator and member of the canonical WNT signaling pathway, also plays an essential role in transducing the GnRH signal by interacting with multiple DNA-binding proteins in gonadotropes. Herein we propose that these interactions with β-catenin define a multicomponent transcriptional network required for regulated expression of the four signature genes of the gonadotrope, Cga, Lhb, Fshb, and Gnrhr.


Copyright © 2008 The Endocrine Society. All rights reserved.