Receptor-specific activity of heteromeric thyrotropin (TSH) analogs: development of synthetic TSH antagonists.

M. T. Sheehan, D. E. Morbeck, E. R. Bergert, D. J. McCormick, R. P. Milius, J. C. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In an attempt to create potent and specific inhibitors of the interaction of thyrotropin (thyroid-stimulating hormone [TSH]) with its receptor, we designed a series of 18 synthetic peptides containing sequences of both alpha and beta subunits that were shown previously to interact with the TSH receptor. These "heteromeric" peptide analogs included amino acid residues from alpha 26-46, beta 31-52, beta 88-95 and beta 101-112 that were arranged variously and were separated from each other by artificial amino acid spacers. Each peptide was tested for its ability to interact with the TSH receptor in a radio-receptor assay (TSH-RRA) using porcine thyroid membranes and a bio-assay for TSH using FRTL-5 cells. Twelve of the 18 peptides showed binding activity in the TSH-RRA. None of the analogs demonstrated thyroid stimulatory activity, but five inhibited TSH bioactivity and were, thus, pure antagonists, the most potent possessing EC50 values in the 3-5 microM range. Specificity of the antagonists was tested by measuring their ability to inhibit hCG binding to ovarian membranes, hCG-stimulated progesterone production in MA-10 rat Leydig tumor cells and FSH binding to testicular membranes. Only those peptides that included the alpha-subunit sequence CFSR or CCFSR exhibited binding activity for the heterologous receptors, and that activity was 10-fold lower than in the TSH assays. None of the heteromeric peptides showed activity in the hCG bioassays, further demonstrating their specificity as TSH antagonists. These studies illustrate the utility of a synthetic peptide approach in the development of analogs of peptide hormones. Future alterations that significantly enhance the potency of these antagonists may result in substances with clinical efficacy in diseases such as Graves' disease and differentiated thyroid cancer that involve the thyrotropin receptor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-271
Number of pages8
JournalPeptide research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology


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