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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2007 Apr;104(1-2):75-80. Epub 2007 Jan 25.

Molecular characterization of the cynomolgus monkey Macaca fascicularis steroidogenic enzymes belonging to the aldo-keto reductase family.

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Oncology and Molecular Endocrinology Research Center, Laval University Medical Center (CRCHUL) and Laval University, 2705 Laurier Boulevard, Quebec G1V 4G2, Canada.


Steroidogenic enzymes belonging to the aldo-keto reductase family (AKR) possess highly homologous sequences while having different activities. To gain further knowledge about the function as well as the regulation of these enzymes in the monkey, we have isolated cDNA sequences encoding monkey type 5 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, 20alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and 3alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, and characterized their enzymatic activity and mRNA tissue distribution. Sequence analysis indicates that these enzymes share approximately 94 and 76% amino acid identity with human and mouse homologs, respectively. Monkey type 5 17beta-HSD possesses 95.9% amino acid sequence identity with human type 5 17beta-HSD. It catalyzes the transformation of 4-androstenedione into testosterone, but it lacks 20alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase activity that is present in the human enzyme. This activity seems to be specific to human, since mouse type 5 17beta-HSD does not show significant 20alpha-HSD activity. In addition, monkey and mouse 20alpha-HSD possess relatively high 20alpha-, 3alpha-, and 17beta-HSD activities, while their human counterpart is confined to 20alpha-HSD activity. The monkey 3alpha-HSD possesses relatively high 3alpha-, 17beta-, and 20alpha-HSD activities; human type 1 3alpha-HSD exerts 3alpha- and 20alpha-HSD activities; the mouse 3alpha-HSD displays a unique 3alpha-HSD activity. Quantification of mRNA expression shows that the monkey 3alpha-HSD is exclusively expressed in the liver, while the type 5 17beta-HSD is predominately found in the kidney, with lower levels observed in the stomach, liver, and colon. Monkey 20alpha-HSD mRNA is highly expressed in the kidney, stomach, and liver. Our study provides the basis for future investigations on the regulation and function of these enzymes in the monkey.

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