The LH receptor (LHR) is a G protein-coupled receptor involved in the regulation of ovarian and testicular functions. In this study we demonstrate novel and unexpected patterns of receptor expression and regulation in fetal and adult rodent urogenital and adrenal tissues. Two rat LHR promoter fragments (∼2 and 4 kb) were shown to direct expression of the lacZ reporter in transgenic mice to gonads, adrenal glands, and kidneys, starting at 14.5 d post coitum, and to genital tubercles, starting at 11.5 d post coitum. These tissues were also found to express the full-length LHR mRNA and protein during rat fetal development, but, importantly, only immature receptors carrying unprocessed N-linked glycans were detected. After birth, the receptor gene activity ceased, except in the gonads, which started to express the mature receptor carrying fully processed N-linked glycans. Surprisingly, both LHR mRNA and mature protein levels were up-regulated substantially in pregnant female adrenal glands and kidneys at a time that coincides with differentiation of fetal urogenital tissues. Taken together, these results indicate that the LHR protein is expressed constitutively in gonadal and nongonadal urogenital tissues as well in adrenal glands, but its final functional maturation at the posttranslational level appears to be developmentally and physiologically regulated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas