Molecular cloning of pituitary glycoprotein α-subunit and follicle stimulating hormone and chorionic gonadotropin β-subunits from New World squirrel monkey and owl monkey

Jonathan G. Scammell, Jane D. Funkhouser, Felricia S. Moyer, Susan V. Gibson, Donna L. Willis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The goal of this study was to characterize the gonadotropins expressed in pituitary glands of the New World squirrel monkey (Saimiri sp.) and owl monkey (Aotus sp.). The various subunits were amplified from total RNA from squirrel monkey and owl monkey pituitary glands by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and the deduced amino acid sequences compared to those of other species. Mature squirrel monkey and owl monkey glycoprotein hormone α-polypeptides (96 amino acids in length) were determined to be 80% homologous to the human sequence. The sequences of mature β subunits of follicle stimulating hormone (FSHβ) from squirrel monkey and owl monkey (111 amino acids in length) are 92% homologous to human FSHβ. New World primate glycoprotein hormone α-polypeptides and FSHβ subunits showed conservation of all cysteine residues and consensus N-linked glycosylation sites. Attempts to amplify the β-subunit of luteinizing hormone from squirrel monkey and owl monkey pituitary glands were unsuccessful. Rather, the β-subunit of chorionic gonadotropin (CG) was amplified from pituitaries of both New World primates. Squirrel monkey and owl monkey CGβ are 143 and 144 amino acids in length and 77% homologous with human CGβ. The greatest divergence is in the C terminus, where all four sites for O-linked glycosylation in human CGβ, responsible for delayed metabolic clearance, are predicted to be absent in New World primate CGβs. It is likely that CG secreted from pituitary of New World primates exhibits a relatively short half-life compared to human CG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)534-541
Number of pages8
JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2008
Externally publishedYes



  • N-linked glycosylation
  • O-linked glycosylation
  • Phylogenetic analysis
  • Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology

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