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J Mol Endocrinol. 2005 Oct;35(2):305-16.

Androgen metabolism via 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 3 in mammalian and non-mammalian vertebrates: comparison of the human and the zebrafish enzyme.

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GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health, Institute of Experimental Genetics, Genome Analysis Center, Ingolstaedter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg, Germany.


Formation and inactivation of testosterone is performed by various members of the 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17beta-HSD) family. The main player in testosterone formation is considered to be 17beta-HSD type 3, which catalyzes the reduction of androstenedione to testosterone with high efficiency and is almost exclusively expressed in testis. So far, only the mammalian homologs have been characterized but nothing is known about the role of 17beta-HSD type 3 in other vertebrates. In this study, we describe the identification and characterization of the zebrafish homolog. We found zebrafish 17beta-HSD type 3 to be expressed in embryogenesis from sphere to 84 h post-fertilization. Expression was also detected in various tissues of both male and female adults, but displayed sexual dimorphism. Interestingly, expression was not highest in male testis but in male liver. In female adults, strongest expression was observed in ovaries. At the subcellular level, both human and zebrafish 17beta-HSD type 3 localize to the endoplasmic reticulum. The zebrafish enzyme in vitro effectively catalyzed the conversion of androstenedione to testosterone by use of NADPH as cofactor. Among further tested androgens epiandrosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone were accepted as substrates and reduced at C-17 by the human and the zebrafish enzyme. Androsterone and androstanedione though, were only substrates of human 17beta-HSD type 3, not the zebrafish enzyme. Furthermore, we found that both enzymes can reduce 11-ketoandrostenedione as well as 11beta-hydroxyandrostenedione at C-17 to the respective testosterone forms. Our results suggest that 17beta-HSD type 3 might play slightly different roles in zebrafish compared with human although testosterone itself is likely to have similar functions in both organisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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