We studied the involvement of the ERK cascade in human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)-induced steroidogenesis by primary cultures of immature rat Leydig cells. Our findings indicate that protein kinase A and protein kinase C function as upstream kinases in connection with transduction of the signal from the gonadotropin receptor to the ERK cascade. These MAPKs enhance the stimulatory effects of hCG on the de novo synthesis of the steroidogenic acute regulatory protein and the activity of protein phosphatase 2A, which are associated with increased androgen production by the Leydig cell. Specific inhibition of ERK1/2 by Uo126 suppressed all of these cellular responses to hCG. In contrast, steroidogenesis LH SECRETED BY THE pituitary gland plays a central role in regulation of reproductive function in both male and female mammals. In the case of the testis, LH regulate
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