Glycosylation of thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor


Paulina Korta, Ewa Pocheć

Thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor (TSHR) is a typical membrane receptor with 7-transmembrane helix domain (7TMR), coupled to the G protein. The mature receptor, present in the cell membrane, is composed of the A subunit comprising a large extracellular domain, and the B subunit, which consists of a short extracellular fragment anchored in the cell membrane and an intracellular part. The TSH receptor is subject to numerous post-translational modifications that determine its final structure and significantly affect its activity. One of them is glycosylation. TSHR is abundantly N-glycosylated, due to the presence of six N-glycosylation sites in the extracellular domain (Asn77, Asn99, Asn113, Asn177, Asn198, Asn302), mostly evolutionarily conserved. N-glycans constitute 30–40% of the receptor molecular weight. The glycans are necessary for the receptor trafficking to the plasma membrane and binding of TSH to the receptor. Fucosylated and sialylated N-oligosaccharides were found on TSHR molecules. The increased sialylation of TSHR glycans correlates positively with the receptor binding ability and prolongs the time of receptor incorporation into the cell membrane. TSHR is the main autoantigen in Graves’ disease (GD), one of the thyroid autoimmune diseases. One hypothesis assumes that the higher N-glycosylation of THSR in human compared to animals influences the breaking of autotolerance and GD development. N-oligosaccharides are the important part of THSR molecule, necessary for the proper functioning of receptors and probably involved in thyroid autoimmunity in GD.

Keywords: TSHR; N-glycosylation; sialylation; thyroid; Graves’ disease

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