Activating Transcription Factor 3 Stimulates Follicle-Stimulating Hormone-β Expression in Vitro but Is Dispensable for Follicle-Stimulating Hormone Production in Murine Gonadotropes in Vivo

Carlos A.I. Alonso, Caroline D. David, Chirine Toufaily, Ying Wang, Xiang Zhou, Luisina Ongaro, German Nudelman, Venugopalan D. Nair, Frederique Ruf-Zamojski, Ulrich Boehm, Stuart C. Sealfon, Daniel J. Bernard

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Abstract

Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), a dimeric glycoprotein produced by pituitary gonadotrope cells, regulates spermatogenesis in males and ovarian follicle growth in females. Hypothalamic gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) stimulates FSHβ subunit gene (Fshb) transcription, though the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. To address this gap in knowledge, we examined changes in pituitary gene expression in GnRH-deficient mice (hpg) treated with a regimen of exogenous GnRH that increases pituitary Fshb but not luteinizing hormone β (Lhb) messenger RNA levels. Activating transcription factor 3 (Atf3) was among the most upregulated genes. Activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3) can heterodimerize with members of the activator protein 1 family to regulate gene transcription. Co-expression of ATF3 with JunB stimulated murine Fshb, but not Lhb, promoter-reporter activity in homologous LβT2b cells. ATF3 also synergized with a constitutively active activin type I receptor to increase endogenous Fshb expression in these cells. Nevertheless, FSH production was intact in gonadotrope-specific Atf3 knockout [conditional knockout (cKO)] mice. Ovarian follicle development, ovulation, and litter sizes were equivalent between cKOs and controls. Testis weights and sperm counts did not differ between genotypes. Following gonadectomy, increases in LH secretion were enhanced in cKO animals. Though FSH levels did not differ between genotypes, post-gonadectomy increases in pituitary Fshb and gonadotropin α subunit expression were more pronounced in cKO than control mice. These data indicate that ATF3 can selectively stimulate Fshb expression in vitro but is not required for FSH production in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberbqad050
JournalEndocrinology
Volume164
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2023

Keywords

  • GnRH
  • cell line
  • knockout mouse
  • pituitary
  • transcription

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