Hypothalamic thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) stimulates thyrotropin and prolactin release by the anterior pituitary gland. The the mechanisms of inactivation of the TRH receptor, a Ca2+-mobilizing G protein-coupled receptor, are not well understood. Desensitization results from receptor phosphorylation, beta-arrestin binding, and internalization. Resensitization requires receptor dephosphorylation and recycling. There is virtually no information about how the TRH receptor is actually used in vivo. We have recently developed a highly selective phospho-site specific antibody against the phosphorylated (i.e. recently activated) TRH receptor that allows us to address these issues. The phosphorylation sites recognized by the antibody are critical for receptor internalization and desensitization, and the antibody gives strong staining of pituitary tissue from TRH-injected rats. The goals of the proposal are to characterize TRH receptor phosphorylation, dephosphorylation, recycling and resensitization, and to establish how receptor activation occurs in vivo.
The first aim uses newly available techniques to determine the stoichiometry of phosphorylation. The kinases involved will be identified, as will the phosphorylation sites on the receptor, which will then be mutated and the effects on signaling, traffickingand desensitization assessed. The next aim will test the hypothesis that dephosphorylation is critical for controlling the intracellular traffic of the internalized receptor. Rates of dephosphorylation of receptorson the plasma membrane and in endocytic vesicles will be measured, and the subcellular sites of dephosphosphorylation will be determined.
The third aim tests the hypothesis that TRH receptor cycling and resensitization are controlled byphosphorylation- dependent Detaarrestinbinding. The pathway of TRH receptor recycling will be determined. The role of Detaarrestin in TRH receptor cycling and resensitizationwill be defined, as will the importance of receptor dimerization. Most experiments in these aims will be done using pituitary GH3 cells. The last aim capitalizes on the ability of the phospho-site specific antibody to identify recently activated TRH receptor. The antibody will be used to follow receptor phosphorylation following a bolus of TRH in rats and in TRH and TRH receptor knockout mice, and to test the hypothesis that hypothalamic TRH drive is responsible for changes in TSH output in vivo in response to changes in thyroid status, nutrition and temperature.
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