Cellular distribution of Egr1 transcription in the male rat pituitary gland
Carter, David Allan
- Publisher: Society for Endocrinology
mesheuropmc: endocrine system | hormones, hormone substitutes, and hormone antagonists
The transcription factor gene Egr1 is necessary for female fertility; EGR1 protein is an established molecular regulator of adult female gonadotroph function where it mediates GNRH-stimulated transcription of the Lhb gene. Recent studies have also implicated pituitary EGR1 in the mediation of other physiological signals indicating an integrative function. However, the role of EGR1 in males is less well defined and this uncertainty is compounded by the absence of cellular expression data in the male pituitary gland. The aim of this study, therefore, was to define the distribution of Egr1 gene expression in the adult male rat pituitary. To further this aim, we have evaluated cellular populations in a transgenic rat model (Egr1-d2EGFP), in which we demonstrate regulated green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression in EGR1+ pituitary cells. Cellular filling by GFP enabled morphological and molecular differentiation of different populations of gonadotrophs; Egr1 transcription and LHB were highly co-localised in a major population of large cells but only minimally co-localised in small GFP+ cells; the latter cells were shown to be largely (80%) composed of minority populations of GH+ somatotrophs (9% of total GH+) and PRL+ lactotrophs (3% of total PRL+). Egr1 transcription was not found in TSH+, ACTH+ or SOX2+ precursor cells and was only minimally co-localised in S-100β+ folliculostellate cells. Our demonstration that the Egr1 gene is actively and selectively transcribed in a major sub-population of male LHB+ cells indicates a largely conserved role in gonadotroph function and has provided a basis for further defining this role.