Author(s): Charbonneau A, The VL
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Abstract The enzyme 5beta-reductase catalyzes the reduction of the 4-ene of 3-ketosteroids, converting them into 5beta-dihydro-3-ketosteroids and, thus, could be involved in the metabolism of 4-cholestene-3-one, progesterone, 17~-hydroxyprogesterone, aldosterone, corticosterone, cortisol, 4-androstenedione, and testosterone. In this study, we report the genomic structure of a human 5beta-reductase gene, its tissue distribution, the characterization of an intronless pseudogene and the substrate selectivity of the enzyme. The gene coding for the active 5beta-reductase contains nine exons like most members of the aldo-keto reductase family, but the sequence covered by the gene, more than 42 kb, is much longer than the sequence of other members of this family. There are many large introns, especially introns 3, 4 and 7 that span approx. 7 kb, and intron 1 that contains more than 10 kb. Northern blot analysis showed three band sizes of 1.3, 2.2 and 2.7 kb. The 1.3 and 2.7 kb bands are highly expressed in the liver while weaker 2.2 and 1.3 kb bands have been observed in the testis and colon, respectively. We also identified an intronless gene having 86\% homology with the 5beta-reductase cDNA sequence. Since its sequence contains many stop codons, this gene is most probably a pseudogene. To determine more precisely the substrate selectivity of the enzyme, we established a stable cell line expressing human 5beta-reductase in transformed embryonic kidney (HEK-293) cells. The transfected cells efficiently catalyze the transformation of progesterone, androstenedione, 17alpha-hydroxyprogesterone and testosterone. However, they catalyze much less efficiently the transformation of compounds containing an 11beta-hydroxy group, such as aldosterone, corticosterone and cortisol. In addition to its role in cholesterol catabolism, it is well recognized that 5beta-reductase inactivates active androgens. Indeed, 5beta-dihydrotestosterone (5beta-DHT), the product of the reduction of testosterone by 5beta-reductase, is not active while its 5~-isomer (DHT) is the most potent natural androgen. Recent findings show that 5beta-pregnanes are active ligands in the induction of CYP3A through the orphan receptor hPAR. Our results thus open an opportunity for studying the new role of 5beta-reductase in the formation of a new type of active steroids.
This article was published in Biochim Biophys Acta
and referenced in Journal of Architectural Engineering Technology