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Stimulating Insight Into Reproductive Hormones

  January, 25 2005 10:28
your information resource in human molecular genetics
In the past, scientists have encountered difficulty in designing drugs to either promote or prevent conception, because they lacked information about how certain molecules in the reproductive pathway worked. A paper in the 20 Jan 2005 issue of Nature (Vol. 433, No. 7023, pp. 269-277) may provide scientists with the key for aiding future drug discovery efforts.

Wayne Hendrickson and Qing Fan now reveal how follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) binds to its receptor on the cell surface. This crucial interaction stimulates a pathway leading to gamete development. In deciphering the three-dimensional structure of FSH bound to a domain of its receptor, the duo explain the specificity of FSH binding. The binding mode should also be applicable to other related hormones.

Now that researchers have a three-dimensional structure, they can design drugs to mimic FSH binding. "Their work also opens up the possibility of developing non-steroidal FSH antagonists for use as contraceptives in men to block sperm production, and in women to block oocyte development," writes James Dias in an accompanying News and Views article.


Wayne Hendrickson
HHMI, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
Tel: +1 212 305 3456
E-mail: wayne@convex.hhmi.columbia.edu

Qing Fan
HHMI, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
Tel: +1 646 894 5271
E-mail: qfan@convex.hhmi.columbia.edu

James Dias
Wadsworth Center, NYS Department of Health, Albany, NY, USA.
Tel: +1 518 486 2569
E-mail: james.dias@wadsworth.org

(C) Nature press release.

Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza

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