The androgen receptor (AR) is a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily, and is important for both male and female reproductive health. The receptor is a target for a number of post-translational modifications including phosphorylation, which has been intensively studied in vitro. However, little is known about the phosphorylation status of the receptor in target tissues in vivo. The common marmoset is a useful model for studying human reproductive functions, and comparison of the AR primary sequence from this primate shows high conservation of serines known to be phosphorylated in the human receptor and corresponding flanking amino acids. We have used a panel of phosphospecific antibodies to study AR phosphorylation in the marmoset ovary throughout the follicular phase and after treatment with GNRH antagonist or testosterone propionate. In normal follicular phase ovaries, total AR (both phosphorylated and non-phosphorylated forms) immunopositive staining was observed in several cell types including granulosa cells of developing follicles, theca cells and endothelial cells lining blood vessels. Receptor phosphorylation at serines 81, 308, and 650 was detected primarily in the granulosa cells of developing follicles, surface epithelium, and vessel endothelial cells. Testosterone treatment lead to a modest increase in AR staining in all stages of follicle studied, while GNRH antagonist had no effect. Neither treatment significantly altered the pattern of phosphorylation compared to the control group. These results demonstrate that phosphorylation of the AR occurs, at a subset of serine residues, in a reproductive target tissue in vivo, which appears refractory to hormonal manipulations.
McEwan, I. J., McGuinness, D., Hay, C. W., Millar, R. P., Saunders, P. T. K., & Fraser, H. M. (2010). Identification of androgen receptor phosphorylation in the primate ovary in vivo. Reproduction, 140(1), 93-104. https://doi.org/10.1530/REP-10-0140