We report the identification and characterization of a frameshift TSHR variant in the intracytoplasmic C-tail region.
Sequencing of TSHR was performed in a patient with congenital hypothyroidism. The functionality of the identified variants was assessed by expressing TSHR in HEK293 cells and measuring TSH-dependent activation of the cAMP-response element-luciferase reporter. A series of systematic mutagenesis experiments were performed to characterize the frameshifted amino acid sequence.
The proband was heterozygous for a known TSHR variant (p.Arg519His) and a novel frameshift TSHR variant (p.Val711Phefs*18), which removed 54 C-terminal residues and added a 17 frameshifted sequence. The loss of function of Val711Phefs*18-TSHR was confirmed in vitro, but the function of Val711*-TSHR was found to be normal. Western blotting showed the low protein expression of Val711Phefs*18-TSHR. Fusion of the frameshift sequence to green fluorescent protein or luciferase induced inactivation of them, indicating that the sequence acted as a degron. A systematic mutagenesis study revealed that the density of hydrophobic residues in the frameshift sequence determined the stability. Eight additional frameshift TSHR variants that covered all possible shifted frames in C-tail were created, and another frameshift variant (Thr748Profs*27) with similar effect was found.
We characterized a naturally-occurring frameshift TSHR variant located in C-tail, and provided a unique evidence that hydrophobicity in the C-terminal region of the receptor affects protein stability.
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