Fertility in mammals requires appropriate communication within the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis and the GnRH receptor (GnRHR) is a central conduit for this communication. The GnRHR resides in discrete membrane rafts and raft occupancy is required for signaling by GnRH. The present studies use immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry to define peptides present within the raft associated with the GnRHR and flotillin-1, a key raft marker. These studies revealed peptides from the F0F1 ATP synthase complex. The catalytic subunits of the F1 domain were validated by immunoprecipitation, flow cytometry, and cell surface biotinylation studies demonstrating that this complex was present at the plasma membrane associated with the GnRHR. The F1 catalytic domain faces the extracellular space and catalyzes ATP synthesis when presented with ADP in normal mouse pituitary explants and a gonadotrope cell line. Steady-state extracellular ATP accumulation was blunted by coadministration of inhibitory factor 1, limiting inorganic phosphate in the media, and by chronic stimulation of the GnRHR. Steady-state extracellular ATP accumulation was enhanced by pharmacological inhibition of ecto-nucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolases. Kisspeptin administration induced coincident GnRH and ATP release from the median eminence into the hypophyseal-portal vasculature in ovariectomized sheep. Elevated levels of extracellular ATP augmented GnRH-induced secretion of LH from pituitary cells in primary culture, which was blocked in media containing low inorganic phosphate supporting the importance of extracellular ATP levels to gonadotrope cell function. These studies indicate that gonadotropes have intrinsic ability to metabolize ATP in the extracellular space and extracellular ATP may serve as a modulator of GnRH-induced LH secretion.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Dr Lynn Dong for ongoing technical support in immunohistochemistry, Dr Sheng Zhang and Mr James McCardle for expertise in mass spectrometry, Dr Donal Skinner for generously providing antibody to the GnRHR; and Dr Pamela Mellon for providing αT3-1 cells. This work was supported by National Institutes of Health/ National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grants R01 HD34772 and R21 HD082780.
© 2016 by the Endocrine Society.