Luteinizing Hormone Receptors are Confined in Mesoscale Plasma Membrane Microdomains Throughout Recovery from Receptor Desensitization

Amber L. Wolf-Ringwall, Peter W. Winter, Deborah A. Roess, B. George Barisas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We examined the involvement of membrane microdomains during human luteinizing hormone (LH) receptor recovery from receptor desensitization after removal of bound hormone. Lateral motions of individual desensitized LH receptors expressed on the surface of Chinese hamster ovary cells and transient association of these receptors with detergent-resistant membrane (DRM) microdomains isolated using isopycnic sucrose gradient ultracentrifugation were assessed. Single particle tracking experiments showed untreated individual LH receptors to be confined within cell-surface membrane compartments with an average diameter of 199 ± 17 nm and associated with membrane fractions characteristic of bulk plasma membrane. After brief exposure to human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), LH receptors remained for several hours desensitized to hCG challenge. Throughout this period, significantly increased numbers of LH receptors were confined within smaller diameter (<120 nm) membrane compartments and associated with DRM fragments of characteristically low density. By 5 h, when cells again produced cAMP in response to hCG, unoccupied LH receptors were found in larger 169 ± 22 nm diameter cell-surface membrane compartments and >90 % of LH receptors were again found in high-density membrane fragments characteristic of bulk plasma membrane. Taken together, these results suggest that, during recovery from LH receptor desensitization, LH receptors are both located with DRM lipid environments and confined within small, mesoscale (80-160 nm) cell-surface compartments. This may reflect hormone-driven translocation of receptors into DRM and formation there of protein aggregates too large or too rigid to permit effective signaling. Once bound hormone is removed, receptor structures would have to dissociate before receptors can again signal effectively in response to hormone challenge. Moreover, such larger protein complexes would be more easily constrained laterally by membrane structural elements and so appear resident in smaller cell-surface compartments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)561-569
Number of pages9
JournalCell biochemistry and biophysics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments We thank Dr. Ying Lei for constructing the FLAG-tagged LH receptor expressing CHO cell line used here. This work was supported, in part, by NIH Grant R03 HD41980 (D.A.R.), by the U.S.D.A. Animal Health and Disease Program at Colorado State University (D.A.R.) and by NSF Grant MCB-1024669 (B.G.B).


  • Human chorionic gonadotropin
  • Lateral diffusion
  • Luteinizing hormone receptor
  • Plasma membrane microdomains
  • Receptor desensitization
  • Single particle tracking


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