Recently, rare heterozygous AMH protein-altering variants were identified in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), causing reduced anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) signaling. However, the exact functional mechanism remains unknown. Here, we analyzed the processing, secretion, and signaling of these AMH variants. Functional analysis of six PCOS-specific AMH variants (V12G, P151S, P270S, P352S, P362S, H506Q) and one control-specific variant (A519V) was performed in the mouse granulosa cell-line KK-1. Human (h) AMH-151S and hAMH-506Q have ∼90% decreased AMH signaling compared to wild-type (wt) AMH signaling. Coexpression of hAMH-151S or hAMH-506Q with wt-hAMH dose-dependently inhibited wt-hAMH signaling. Western blotting revealed that hAMH-151S and hAMH-506Q proteins were detected in the cell lysate but not in the supernatant. Confocal microscopy showed that HEK293 cells expressing hAMH-151S and hAMH-506Q had higher cellular AMH protein levels with endoplasmic reticulum (ER) retention compared to cells expressing wt-hAMH. Using two AMH ELISA kits, hAMH-151S was detected in the cell lysate, while only very low levels were detected in the supernatant. Both hAMH-362S and hAMH-519V were detectable using the automated AMH ELISA but showed severely reduced immunoactivity in the manual ELISA. Surprisingly, hAMH-506Q was undetectable in both the cell lysate and supernatant using either ELISA. However, in PCOS cases, heterozygous carriers of the P151S and H506Q variants still had detectable AMH in both assays. Thus, P151S and H506Q disrupt normal processing and secretion of AMH, causing ER retention. Additionally, AMH variants can impair the AMH immunoactivity. An AMH variant may be considered when serum AMH levels are relatively low in PCOS cases.
- anti-Müllerian hormone