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Mol Endocrinol. 2010 Jul;24(7):1322-37. doi: 10.1210/me.2009-0519. Epub 2010 Mar 4.

Minireview: steroidogenic factor 1: its roles in differentiation, development, and disease.

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  • 1Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5G1L6, Canada.


The orphan nuclear receptor steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1, also called Ad4BP, encoded by the NR5A1 gene) is an essential regulator of endocrine development and function. Initially identified as a tissue-specific transcriptional regulator of cytochrome P450 steroid hydroxylases, studies of both global and tissue-specific knockout mice have demonstrated that SF-1 is required for the development of the adrenal glands, gonads, and ventromedial hypothalamus and for the proper functioning of pituitary gonadotropes. Many genes are transcriptionally regulated by SF-1, and many proteins, in turn, interact with SF-1 and modulate its activity. Whereas mice with heterozygous mutations that disrupt SF-1 function have only subtle abnormalities, humans with heterozygous SF-1 mutations can present with XY sex reversal (i.e. testicular failure), ovarian failure, and occasionally adrenal insufficiency; dysregulation of SF-1 has been linked to diseases such as endometriosis and adrenocortical carcinoma. The current state of knowledge of this important transcription factor will be reviewed with a particular emphasis on the pioneering work on SF-1 by the late Keith Parker.

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