[Truncated abstract] G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) form one of the largest superfamilies of cell-surface receptors and respond to a vast range of stimuli including light, hormones and neurotransmitters. Although structurally similar, GPCRs are regulated by many diverse proteins, which allow the specific functions of each receptor to be carried out. This thesis focussed on two well-documented GPCRs, the thyrotropin releasing hormone receptor (TRHR) and gonadotrophin-releasing hormone receptor (GnRHR), which control the thyroid and reproductive endocrine pathways respectively. Although each of these anterior pituitary receptors is responsible for distinct physiological responses, both are integral to normal development and homeostasis. This thesis focused on three areas of GPCR regulation: ?-arrestin recruitment, transcription factor regulation and receptor up-regulation. The role of the cytoplasmic protein, ?-arrestin, has perhaps been previously underestimated in GPCR regulation, but it is now increasingly apparent that ?-arrestins not only inhibit further G-protein activation and assist in GPCR internalisation but also act as complex scaffolding platforms to mediate and amplify downstream signalling networks for hours after initial GPCR activation. It is therefore becoming increasingly important to be able to monitor such complexes in live cells over longer time-frames. ... Members of the E2F transcription family have been previously identified by this laboratory as potential GnRHR interacting proteins, via a yeast-2-hybrid screen and BRET. This thesis further investigated the role of E2F family members and demonstrates that a range of GPCRs are able to activate E2F transcriptional activity when stimulated by agonist. However, despite GnRHR displaying robust E2F transcriptional activation upon agonist stimulation, this did not result in any conclusive evidence for functional regulation, although it is possible E2F may modulate and assist in GnRHR trafficking. Furthermore it is apparent that E2F family members are highly redundant, as small effects in GnRHR binding and cell growth were only observed when protein levels of both E2F4 and E2F5 were altered. During the course of the investigation into the effect of E2F transcription on GPCR function, it was evident that long-term agonist stimulation of GnRHR had a profound effect on its expression. As this was explored further, it became clear that this agonist-induced up-regulation was both dose- and time-dependent. Furthermore, altering levels of intracellular calcium and receptor recycling/synthesis could modulate GnRHR up-regulation. In addition, an extremely sensitive CCD camera has been used for the first time to visualise the luciferase activity attributed to GnRHR up-regulation. Overall, this thesis demonstrates the complex nature of GPCR regulation. For the first time, long-term BRET analysis on ?-arrestin interactions with both classes of GPCRs has been examined in a variety of cellular formats. This has given valuable insights into the roles of phosphorylation and internalisation on ?-arrestin interaction. Additionally, this thesis has revealed that prolonged agonist exposure increases receptor expression levels, which has major implications for drug therapy regimes in the treatment of endocrine-related disorders and tumours.
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2007|