What Is a Luteinizing Hormone Receptor?

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  • Written By: T. Carrier
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2019
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Hormones are a necessary part of the reproductive process, and hormone receptors help facilitate the actions of these chemicals. A luteinizing hormone receptor specifically serves as a cellular binding point for the luteinizing hormone (lh). The receptors convert signals given by the hormone into actions inside the cells. These structures are found in both male and female reproductive organs such as the testes and ovaries. Once activated, they stimulate these organs to produce steroids that aid in reproduction.

Structurally, amino acids comprise the bulk of a luteinizing hormone receptor, with total amino numbers around 675 for each receptor. As such, the receptors are filled with small molecules containing the following substances: oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen. On a larger structural level, the receptors consist mainly of fluids, proteins, and seven membrane — or thin barrier — areas to which the hormones bind. A gene on human chromosome 2 is likely responsible for the creation of the luteinizing hormone receptor.

These structures are part of a larger group of receptors known as G-protein coupled receptors. Such receptors are found in multi-cell organisms and are responsible for conducting signals from an outside source to the inside of a cell. The signals then activate various responses within the cells. Since these communications take place across the thin membrane layers of a receptor, the groups are also called transmembrane receptors.


Once a hormone has secured itself to the receptor via the membranes, it sends a signal inside the receptor. This signal then turns on the inner receptor proteins, known as G proteins. A messenger substance called cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) helps conduct the signals. This begins a protein transformation process that allows deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) to connect to the proteins. After this step has occurred, the cell is activated and the hormone’s function begins to occur.

The luteinizing hormone receptor aids in many process, depending on its location. In the male testes, it helps facilitate sperm and testosterone production. For females, the structure is beneficial in ovulation and pregnancy. Any abnormalities in these receptors, therefore, may cause fertility issues.

These types of receptors primarily interact with luteinizing hormones. This chemical arises from the anterior pituitary gland found near the brain. It is the hormone responsible for stimulating the aforementioned reproductive organs into action. Therefore, when the hormone binds to the luteinizing hormone receptor, the eventual outcome is production of sex steroids like testosterone. Such chemicals are known as gonadotropins because they stimulate the reproductive organs.


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