Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Brian D. Cohen


Human Follicle Stimulating Hormone, Human Follicle Stimulating Hormone Receptor, GPCR, APEX, plasmid, plasmid cloning


Infertility affects millions of people in the United States. In addition to being unable to conceive, patients can face a variety of challenges ranging from mental health issues to increased economic costs. One cause of infertility is a defect in follicle stimulating hormone (hFSH). hFSH is a peptide hormone that is crucial for fertility in both males and females. In males, hFSH is involved in spermatogenesis. In females, hFSH is involved in estrogen production and ovarian follicle development. To better understand the role hFSH plays in fertility, our lab is interested in investigating the function of the hFSH receptor (hFSHR). hFSHR is a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR); signaling from the receptor is of particular interest to us, because if we know how hFSHR signals, we can identify potential molecules to investigate that may be targets to improve fertility. However, investigating the signaling of GPCRs is challenging. Ideal assays to investigate GPCR signaling should be sensitive, simple to use, high throughput, and non-radioactive. Although assays for investigating GPCR signaling have historically been used, they have significant drawbacks. Assays using radioactive ligands are sensitive and high throughput, but are not simple to use and generate radioactive waste. Other assays such as G protein-dependent functional assays are sensitive, but are only able to screen for the activity of one molecule. The APEX assay is a new assay for investigating GPCR signaling that has significant advantages over other assays. When cells expressing a GPCR-APEX fusion protein are incubated in culture media containing biotin-phenol, APEX tags signaling molecules 20 nm radius with biotin-phenoxy radicals. Furthermore, this reaction can be quenched. Thus, the iii APEX assay can be used to investigate GPCR signaling with high spatial and temporal resolution. To develop the APEX assay to investigate hFSHR signaling, it is necessary to clone a plasmid coding for the hFSHR-APEX fusion protein. Creation of this plasmid will allow us to use a high-throughput, time dependent assay to investigate new therapeutic targets for infertility.



Rights Statement

In Copyright