The effect of luteinizing hormone (luteotropin) and cycloheximide on specific protein synthesis in rat testis Leydig cells has been investigated. Proteins were labelled with either I114C]leucine, [3H]leucine or [35S]methionine during incubation with Leydig-cell suspensions in vitro . Total protein was extracted from the cells and separated by sodium dodecyl sulphate/polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis. No detectable increase in the synthesis of specific proteins could be observed after incubation of Leydig cells with luteinizing hormone for up to 1 h. However, after a 2h incubation period, an increase in [35S]methionine incorporation was observed in a protein with an apparent mol.wt. of 21000 (referred to as ‘protein 21’). When, after labelling of this protein with [35S]-methionine, Leydig cells were incubated for another 30min with cycloheximide, no decrease in radioactivity of this protein band was observed, indicating that it does not have a short half-life. However, another protein band was detected, which after incubation with cycloheximide disappeared rapidly, the reaction following first-order kinetics, with a half-life of about 11 min. This protein, with an apparent mol.wt. of 33000 (referred to as “protein 33”), was found to be located in the particulate fraction of the Leydig cell, and could not be demonstrated in other rat testis-cell types or blood cells. No effect of luteinizing hormone on molecular weight, subcellular localization or half-life of protein 33 was observed. A possible role for protein 33 and protein 21 in the mechanism of action of luteinizing hormone on testosterone production of Leydig cells is discussed.
The effect of different doses of luteinizing hormone on activation of protein kinases, cyclic AMP and testosterone production was studied in purified rat testis Leydig-cell preparations in the presence of 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine (a phosphodiesterase inhibitor). In addition, the nature of the protein kinases present in these cells and other tissues was investigated. The following results were obtained. 1. With all the amounts of luteinizing hormone used (0.1-1000 ng/ml), both activation of protein kinase and stimulation of testosterone production were demonstrated. With the lowest amount of luteinizing hormone (0.1 ng/ml), an 8.4±0.9% (S.E.M., n =6) stimulation of protein kinase activation occurred, increasing to 100% with 1000 ng/ml, compared with 3.2±1.0%(S.E.M., n =7) and 100% stimulation of testosterone production with 0.1 and 100 ng/ml respectively. 2. With amounts of luteinizing hormone up to 1 ng/ml (which gave half-maximal stimulation of testosterone production) no detectable increases in net cyclic AMP production were obtained. With higher amounts of luteinizing hormone, cyclic AMP production increased, but maximal production was not reached with 1000 ng/ml. 3. Two isoenzymic forms of protein kinase were present in Leydig cells and seminiferous tubules; type I was eluted with 0.075 M-and type II with 0.22-0.25 M-NaCl from DEAE-cellulose columns. 4. The protein kinase activity was not affected by the presence of erythrocytes in the Leydig-cell preparation, but varied depending on the type of histone used as substrate (histone F2b > mixed > histone F1).
Leydig-cell suspensions, prepared from rat testes, were incubated with different amounts of Ca 2+ with and without added luteinizing hormone. The basal testosterone production in the absence of luteinizing hormone was unaffected by the Ca 2+ concentration in the incubation medium. The luteinizing hormone-stimulated testosterone production, however, was progressively decreased in the absence of Ca 2+ to one-third of that with 2.50 mM-Ca 2+ . This decrease in luteinizing hormone-stimulated testosterone production was independent of the different concentrations of luteinizing hormone (0-10μg/ml) used and could be restored by the addition of Ca 2+ to the incubation medium. The restoration of the stimulation was achieved within 30 min after the addition of Ca 2+ to the medium. Activation of cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase by luteinizing hormone was not decreased by omission of Ca 2+ from the incubation medium, suggesting that Ca 2+ may be involved in steroidogenesis at a stage beyond the luteinizing hormone receptor-adenylate cyclase-protein kinase system.