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Endocr Res. 2002 Nov;28(4):395-401.

PBR, StAR, and PKA: partners in cholesterol transport in steroidogenic cells.

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  • 1Division of Hormone Research, Department of Cell Biology, Georgetown University Medical Center, 3900 Reservoir Road, Washington, DC 20057, USA.


Acute stimulation of cholesterol transport into mitochondria involves the cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA), peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptor (PBR), and the steroidogenesis acute regulatory (StAR) proteins. We investigated the respective role of these proteins in hormone-induced steroidogenesis. Oligonucleotides antisense, but not sense, to PBR and StAR reduced their respective levels in steroidogenic cells and inhibited hormone-stimulated steroid formation in MA-10 mouse Leydig tumor cells. In search of the proteins regulating PBR we identified a protein, PAP7, which interacts with PBR and the PKA regulatory subunit RIalpha, is present in adrenal and gonadal cells and is found in mitochondria. Overexpression of the full length PAP7 increased the hormone-induced steroid production. However, inhibition of PAP7 expression reduced the gonadotropin-induced steroid formation. In search of a PBR functional antagonist that would facilitate the studies on the biological function of PBR, we screened a phage display library. A 7-mer competitive PBR peptide antagonist was identified, which when transduced into Leydig cells inhibited the benzodiazepine and hormone-stimulated steroid production suggesting that the endogenous PBR agonist/receptor interaction is critical for the hormone-dependent steroidogenesis. These data indicate that hormone-induced cholesterol transport and the subsequent steroid formation is a dynamic multistep process involving protein-protein interactions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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