Anika Liu

Project: The effect of GnRH pulse dynamics on ERK signaling in gonadotropes

The linearly organized hypothalamic-pituary-gonadal (HPG) axis is a well-structured long distance signaling architecture which controls the reproductive system in mammals. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is secreted by hypothalamic neurons and regulates the gonadotropin synthesis and secretion in pituitary gonadotropes. Thereby, GnRH stimuli are pulsatile and variations in GnRH pulse frequency are translated into differential gonadotropin expressions. However, it is not yet fully understood, how pulse dynamics are decoded.

I am now modeling ERK and NFAT signaling in gonadotropes (two pathways which are known frequency-decoders) with the aim to understand how variations in pulse frequency and shape affect gonadotropes and through which parameters information is communicated.