Human follicle stimulating hormone (hFSH) is a gonadotropin responsible for the maturation of ovarian follicles in women and production of sperm in men. The receptor (hFSHR) is a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR); a class of receptors found embedded in the cell membrane to receive the hormone resulting in initiation of a complex downstream signaling cascade. Through previous research in the Cohen lab, hFSHR has been shown to be located within compartments of the cell membrane known as lipid rafts. Lipid rafts are microdomains of the membrane containing a higher concentration of cholesterol, glycosphingolipids, and a protein known as caveolin. Current research is focused on evaluating the mechanisms and effects of hFSHR lipid raft residency. Using discontinuous sucrose gradients we have shown that hFSH stimulation of an HEK293 cell line stably transfected with hFSHR cDNA results in alteration of hFSHR lipid raft residency in a time dependent manner.
These results suggest that hFSHR residency in lipid rafts is dependent on hormone stimulation potentially through interaction with caveolin. Through studying hFSHR lipid raft residency and signaling we hope to identify ways to control the receptor for improved methods for contraception and treatment of infertility.