Pivotal Gene for Puberty

"The neuroendocrine and genetic control of sexual maturation at puberty remains one of the great mysteries of human biology." (New England Journal of Medicine, Oct. 23, 2003)

Summary: A gene has been discovered that is needed for puberty. The gene is called GPR54, which stands for G protein-coupled receptor gene. Mutations in GPR54 gene were found that prevent a person from entering puberty. But giving the person some gonadotropin-releasing hormone lets them enter puberty. Complementary mouse studies indisputably established a pivotal role for GPR54 in puberty. GPR54 appears to regulate the secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone by the part of the brain called the hypothalamus and that hormone unleashes the pulsating cascade culminating in puberty.

Comment: And to think that this GPR54 gene may initiate all the throes of adolescence!

For more information, please see the following the MedicineNet.com Teen Center.

Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D.
Frederick Hecht, M.D.
Medical Editors, MedicineNet.com

New Study Identifies Gene Signaling Puberty

Researchers have identified a gene that appears to be a crucial signal for the beginning of puberty in human beings as well as in mice. Without a functioning copy of the gene, both humans and mice appear to be unable to enter puberty normally. The newly identified gene, known as GPR54, also appears necessary for normal reproductive functioning in human beings.

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