We studied the involvement of major histocompatibility (MHC) class I antigens on the mechanism of LH/hCG receptor activation. For this purpose we investigated the effects of anti-MHC class I antibodies on hormone-receptor interaction, signal transduction, and MHC class I antigen-receptor interaction. Monoclonal antibodies against MHC class I antigen were able to stimulate testosterone production in mouse Leydig cells with the same potency as LH. This biological effect depends on the concentration of antibody used and could be abolished by a LH antagonist. There is a perfect parallelism, for each monoclonal antibody, between the specificity for a particular haplotype and the response of the target cells from the strains carrying such a haplotype. The same antibodies were able to precipitate the soluble LH/hCG receptors, as both a hormone-receptor complex and a free receptor. The results suggest that bound hormone triggers an association of the MHC class I antigen with the LH/hCG receptor, resulting in activation of the target cell.
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