Several clonal Leydig tumor cell lines have been established by adapting the transplantable Leydig tumor, M548OP, to culture. One of these cell line, MLTC-1, has been characterized with regard to the gonadotropin-responsive adenylate cyclase system. The binding of 125I-labeled human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) was blocked by excess unlabeled hCG and lutropin (LH) but not by follitropin, thyrotropin, or insulin, indicating the presence of specific receptors for hCG and LH. Based on the specific binding of hCG to isolated MLTC-1 membranes, the calculated dissociation constant was 1.0 +/- 0.2 X 10(-10) M. The receptors appeared identical to those from normal murine Leydig cells when analyzed by SDS PAGE and sucrose density gradient centrifugation. The molecular weight and sedimentation coefficient were 95,000 daltons and 8.5 S, respectively. MLTC-1 cells responded to hCG by accumulating cyclic AMP and producing progesterone. Cyclic AMP accumulation was time- and dose-dependent with a maximal accumulation occurring at approximately 0.2 nM hCG. At saturating levels of hCG, cAMP levels reached a maximum by 30 min and then declined very slowly. Adenylate cyclase activity in membranes prepared from MLTC-1 cells was stimulated by hCG, LH, NaF, cholera toxin, and guanyl-5'-ylimidodiphosphate, Additionally, choleragen was found to ADP-ribosylate a membrane protein of 54,000 daltons. This protein resembles the proposed guanine nucleotide regulatory component in both size and choleragen-dependent reactivity. These data suggest that MLTC-1 cells possess a gonadotropin-responsive adenylate cyclase system consisting of a specific hormone receptor, a regulatory component, and a catalytic subunit.

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