The recombinant subdomain IIIB of human serum albumin displays activity of gonadotrophin surge-attenuating factor
BACKGROUND: Gonadotrophin surge-attenuating factor (GnSAF) is an as yet unidentified ovarian factor that acts on the pituitary to attenuate the pre-ovulatory LH surge. In a previous study, GnSAF bioactivity was proposed to derive, at least in part, from a C-terminal domain (95peptide) of human serum albumin (HSA). METHODS AND RESULTS: We employ here the expression-secretion system of Pichia pastoris to produce and assay selected recombinant polypeptides of HSA for GnSAF activity. We show that the C-terminal 95peptide of HSA (residues 490-585; subdomain IIIB) can be expressed from P.pastoris in secreted form and supernatants from clones expressing this polypeptide reduce the GnRH-induced LH secretion of primary rat pituitary cultures by 50-82%. When expressed in the same system, HSA domain III (residues 381-585) or full-length HSA (residues 1-585) are inactive. The bioactive subdomain IIIB is also separable from either domain III or full-length HSA on Blue Sepharose chromatography. CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, the findings highlight the putative importance of HSA subdomain IIIB as a GnSAF-bioactive entity and introduce a unique experimental tool to engineer this molecule for structure-function analysis.