Tissue-specific expression of squirrel monkey chorionic gonadotropin

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Pituitary gonadotropins LH and FSH play central roles in reproductive function. In Old World primates, LH stimulates ovulation in females and testosterone production in males. Recent studies have found that squirrel monkeys and other New World primates lack expression of LH in the pituitary. Instead, chorionic gonadotropin (CG), which is normally only expressed in the placenta of Old World primates, is the active luteotropic pituitary hormone in these animals. The goal of this study was to investigate the tissue-specific regulation of squirrel monkey CG. We isolated the squirrel monkey CGβ gene and promoter from genomic DNA from squirrel monkey B-lymphoblasts and compared the promoter sequence to that of the common marmoset, another New World primate, and human and rhesus macaque CGβ and LHβ. Using reporter gene assays, we found that a squirrel monkey CGβ promoter fragment (-1898/+9) is active in both mouse pituitary LβT2 and human placenta JEG3 cells, but not in rat adrenal PC12 cells. Furthermore, within this construct separate cis-elements are responsible for pituitary- and placenta-specific expression. Pituitary-specific expression is governed by Egr-1 binding sites in the proximal 250. bp of the promoter, whereas placenta-specific expression is controlled by AP-2 sites further upstream. Thus, selective expression of the squirrel monkey CGβ promoter in pituitary and placental cells is governed by distinct cis-elements that exhibit homology with human LHβ and marmoset CGβ promoters, respectively. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

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General and Comparative Endocrinology

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