Ca2+ signals:
Molecular Mechanisms and Integrative Functions Collaborative Research Center 894

Project A18 - Ulrich Boehm

GnRH-induced Ca2+ signals in pituitary gonadotrope cells

Gonadotropes in the anterior pituitary provide a functional link between the brain and the gonads and control mammalian reproduction. Gonadotrope function is regulated by Ca2+ signals.

We want to analyze the dynamics of this regulation in intact tissue and on the molecular level to understand how the gonadotrope cell network adapts hormone-release to different reproductive stages. Towards this goal we have generated genetically modified mice in which gonadotropes specifically express genetic calcium sensors and optogenetic tools. This allows us to study the propagation of Ca2+ signals in gonadotropes in situ.

Furthermore, we recently succeeded to enrich gonadotropes by 'fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS)'. This enables us for the first time to generate expression profiles of gonadotrope cells and thus to analyze their molecular adaptation to different reproductive endocrine stages.

By temporally-controlled conditional gene-targeting we eventually want to investigate the molecular mechanisms of Ca2+ signal generation in gonadotropes.