Mechanisms involved in the homologous down-regulation of transcription of the follicle-stimulating hormone receptor gene in Sertoli cells
Tribley, Walter A.
Griswold, Michael D.
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The action of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in spermatogenesis is regulated at a fundamental level by controlling the number of competent receptors present at the surface of Sertoli cells. By controlling the number of receptors, the cell is able to modulate the timing and magnitude of subsequent signal transduction in response to FSH. One mechanism of control is the down-regulation of the steady state levels of the FSH receptor gene after exposure to FSH or agents that stimulate or prolong the cAMP signal transduction cascade (homologous down-regulation) in Sertoli cells. The goals of this study were to examine possible mechanisms involved in the down-regulation of mRNA levels of this gene. Analysis of transcription and processing by a PCR-based assay showed that treatment of Sertoli cells with FSH caused at least a 50% reduction of hnRNA for the FSH receptor gene. Reporter genes controlled by 5' flanking sequences of the FSH receptor gene that were transiently transfected into Sertoli cells were not down-regulated. In electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA), cAMP-inducible nuclear protein complex containing c-Fos formed on the activator protein-1/cAMP responsive element-like site located at -216 to -210 in the promoter of the rat FSH receptor gene. We concluded from this study that there was no evidence for the putative role of ICER in the down-regulation of the FSH receptor promoter. In addition, the FSH-induced down-regulation of the transcription of the FSH receptor gene in Sertoli cells was prevented by the treatment of Sertoli cells with trichostatin A prior to the addition of FSH. This experiment coupled with other observations suggested that the down-regulation may be mediated by changes in chromatin structure.