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Biochem J. 2001 Feb 1;353(Pt 3):689-99.

Cholesterol biosynthesis from lanosterol: molecular cloning, chromosomal localization, functional expression and liver-specific gene regulation of rat sterol delta8-isomerase, a cholesterogenic enzyme with multiple functions.

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Department of Biochemistry, Yonsei Proteome Research Center and Bioproducts Research Center, Yonsei University, 134 Shinchon-dong, Sudaemoon-ku, Seoul 120-749, Korea.


Sterol Delta(8)-isomerase (SI) (EC, also known as emopamil binding protein or sigma receptor, catalyses the conversion of the 8-ene isomer into the 7-ene isomer in the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway in mammals. Recently, mutations of SI have been found to be associated with Conradi-H√ľnermann syndrome in humans. To investigate the in vitro and in vivo modes of molecular regulation of SI and its role in cholesterol biosynthesis in mammals, we isolated a full-length cDNA encoding rat SI. The deduced amino-acid sequence of rat SI predicts a 230-residue protein (26737 Da) with 87% and 80% amino-acid identity to mouse and human counterparts. The rat SI gene was mapped to chromosome 12q1.2 using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). The biological function of the cloned rat SI cDNA was verified by overexpressing recombinant Myc-SI in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It showed a characteristic pattern of inhibition on exposure to trans-2-[4-(1,2-diphenylbuten-1-yl)phenoxy]-N,N-dimethylethylamine (tamoxifen; IC(50)=11.2 microM) and 3beta-[2-(diethylamino)ethoxy]androst-5-en-17-one (U18666A; IC(50)=4.2 microM), two well known potent inhibitors of SI. Northern-blot analysis of 3-week-old rats compared with 2-year-old rats showed that SI mRNA expression in both age groups was restricted to liver, where a 70% reduction in mRNA levels was observed in 2-year-old rats. The FISH studies revealed ubiquitous expression of SI mRNA in rat hepatocytes. The in vitro studies showed that the SI mRNA was highly suppressed by 25-hydroxycholesterol in H4IIE cells. Treatment of H4IIE cells grown in medium supplemented with fetal bovine serum with tamoxifen for 24 h resulted in a dose-dependent induction of SI mRNA, with a concomitant suppression of sterol regulatory element binding protein-1 mRNA. Interestingly, this effect was not seen in emopamil-treated cells. The in vivo experiments also indicate that both mRNA expression and enzymic activity of SI in liver were induced approx. 3-fold in rats fed 5% (w/w) cholestyramine plus 0.1% (w/w) lovastatin in normal chow for 2 weeks. With this newly cloned rat SI cDNA, it becomes possible to gain molecular understanding of previously unknown and tamoxifen-mediated gene regulation of SI that is involved in cholesterol metabolism, ischaemia and genetic diseases.

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