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Reproduction. 2011 Nov;142(5):723-31. doi: 10.1530/REP-11-0093. Epub 2011 Sep 9.

Molecular characterization of bovine placental and ovarian 20α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase.

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  • 1Animal Biotechnology, Graduate School of Bio and Information Technology, Institute of Genetic Engineering, Hankyong National University, Ansung 456-749, Republic of Korea.


The enzyme 20α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (20α-HSD) catalyzes the conversion of progesterone to its inactive form, 20α-hydroxyprogesterone. This enzyme plays a critical role in the regulation of luteal function in female mammals. In this study, we conducted the characterization and functional analyses of bovine 20α-HSD from placental and ovarian tissues. The nucleotide sequence of bovine 20α-HSD showed significant homology to that of goats (96%), humans (84%), rabbits (83%), and mice (81%). The mRNA levels increased gradually throughout the estrous cycle, the highest being in the corpus luteum (CL) 1 stage. Northern blot analysis revealed a 1.2  kb mRNA in the bovine placental and ovarian tissues. An antibody specific to bovine 20α-HSD was generated in a rabbit immunized with the purified, recombinant protein. Recombinant 20α-HSD protein produced in mammalian cells had a molecular weight of ∼37  kDa. Bacterially expressed bovine 20α-HSD protein showed enzymatic activity. The expression pattern of the 20α-HSD protein in the pre-parturition placenta and the CL1 stage of the estrous cycle was similar to the level of 20α-HSD mRNA expression. Immunohistochemical analysis also revealed that bovine 20α-HSD protein was intensively localized in the large luteal cells during the late estrous cycle.

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