Tissue distribution, turnover, and glycosylation of the long and short growth hormone receptor isoforms in rat tissues

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Department of Physiology

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Adipocytes; Adipose Tissue; Animals; Blotting, Western; Cycloheximide; Female; Glycosylation; Isomerism; Liver; Male; Muscles; Precipitin Tests; Pregnancy; Protein Synthesis Inhibitors; Rats; Receptors, Somatotropin; Tissue Distribution


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Two isoforms of the GH receptor, the full-length receptor (GHRL) and a short isoform (GHRS) that lacks the transmembrane and intracellular domains of GHRL, have been analyzed in rat tissue extracts by Western blotting and immunoprecipitation. Although quantitative estimates of GHRS and GHRL based on coprecipitation of [125I]GH indicated similar amounts of both isoforms in tissue extracts, the 110 kDa band corresponding to GHRL was generally not detected on Western blots without enrichment by immunoprecipitation. Two bands with electrophoretic mobilities corresponding to 38 and 42 kDa were present in extracts prepared from liver, muscle, and adipocytes. Western blots of the GH binding protein in rat serum also revealed two bands, but these had electrophoretic mobilities corresponding to 44 and 52 kDa. After digestion by endoglycosidase F, a single band with an electrophoretic mobility corresponding to 31 kDa was detected in samples from adipocytes, liver or serum, indicating that GHRS retained in tissues is glycosylated less extensively than that in rat serum. Digestion with neuraminidase indicated that the smaller glycoproteins in tissue extracts lack sialic acid residues that are present in serum samples. Furthermore, endoglycosidase H degraded GHRS in liver extracts to a 31 kDa band but did not degrade serum samples, suggesting that tissues retain a high mannose form of GHRS. The abundance of GHRS or GHRL in tissues from male, virgin female, and pregnant rats was estimated from the amount of 125I-GH that was bound to each isoform after immunoprecipitation. Liver contained more than 10 times as much GHRS per gram of tissue as fat or muscle. In liver, muscle, and fat, the amount of GHRS exceeded that of GHRL, sometimes by as much as 6-fold. GHBP levels in serum of females exceeded those in males, and rose even higher in pregnant females. The abundance of GHRS in all tissue extracts paralleled serum levels. In muscle and fat, the levels of GHRL did not differ in male, female and pregnant rats, whereas in liver, the pattern was similar to the GHRS pattern. In all tissues, pools of GHRS exceeded those of GHRL by a factor that grew larger as tissue and serum levels increased. The half life of GHBP in serum was estimated to be 2.4 h in rats treated with cycloheximide, whereas that of GHRS was 20 min in liver and 8.5 h in fat. These results suggest that GHRS is synthesized in liver 8 times faster than it is released into serum, whereas synthesis in fat is less than 30% of the rate at which it is released into serum by all tissues. Therefore, liver appears to be the major source of GHBP in serum. Although secretion into the circulatory system accounts for little or perhaps none of its turnover in some tissues, GHRS pools in tissues do appear to be regulated, suggesting that GHRS may function primarily in the cells in which it is synthesized.


Endocrinology. 1998 Jun;139(6):2824-30.

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