Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), a hypothalamic neurohormone, regulates transcription of Lhb in gonadotrophs indirectly through transient induction and accumulation of EGR1, a zinc finger transcription factor. AlphaT3 and LbetaT2 cell lines model gonadotrophs at two distinct stages of development, prenatal and postnatal expression of Lhb. Although GnRH induces EGR1 in both cell lines, the levels of the DNA-binding protein are lower and disappear more quickly in alphaT3 than in LbetaT2 cells. Herein we show that overexpression of Egr1 in alphaT3 cells rescues activity of a transfected LHB promoter-reporter, suggesting that its transcription is dependent on EGR1 crossing a critical concentration threshold. We also show that Csda, a gene that encodes an RNA-binding protein and is a member of the cold-shock-domain (CSD) family, is expressed at higher levels in LbetaT2 compared to alphaT3 cells. Transient expression studies indicate that at least one Csd element, residing in the 3′ untranslated region of Egr1 mRNA, increases activity of a chimeric pGL3 luciferase reporter vector in LbetaT2 cells. Additional experiments indicate that CSDA physically interacts with Egr1 mRNA. Furthermore, siRNA-mediated reduction of endogenous Csda mRNA attenuates GnRH regulation of a transiently transfected LHB reporter vector. Taken together, these studies suggest that CSDA contributes posttranscriptionally to GnRH-regulated expression of Egr1, thereby enabling the transcription factor to cross a critical concentration threshold necessary for maximal accumulation of Lhb mRNA in response to the neurohormone.
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Vol. 86 • No. 2