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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2012 Mar;129(1-2):92-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2011.03.019. Epub 2011 Mar 23.

The role of Ala231 and Trp227 in the substrate specificities of fungal 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and trihydroxynaphthalene reductase: Steroids versus smaller substrates.

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  • 1Institute of Biochemistry, Ljubljana, Slovenia.


17β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and trihydroxynaphthalene reductase from the fungus Curvularia lunata (teleomorph: Cochliobolus lunatus; 17β-HSDcl and 3HNR, respectively) are two homologous short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase proteins that are 58% identical and have 86% similar amino acids. The minor differences in their substrate-binding regions are believed to be crucial for their substrate specificities. 3HNR shows high affinity for substrates with two rings, like trihydroxynaphthalene and 2,3-dihydro-2,5-dihydroxy-4H-benzopyran-4-one (DDBO), while 17β-HSDcl can accommodate ligands with four rings, like steroids. In the present study, we examined the role of Ala231 in 17β-HSDcl and Trp227 in 3HNR, as the potential key amino acids in the determination of substrate recognition based on size. We constructed Ala231Trp 17β-HSDcl and Trp227Ala 3HNR mutant proteins and used spectrophotometric analyses to compare their catalytic activities with those of the wild-type enzymes, for oxidation of 4-estrene-17β-ol-3-one and DDBO and for reduction of 4-estrene-3,17-dione and 9,10-phenanthrenequinone (PQ). The Ala231Trp side-chain substitution in 17β-HSDcl abolished and decreased (by 14.6-fold) the initial rates for steroid oxidation and reduction, respectively, while the initial rate for PQ reduction was increased 5.6-fold. The bulky Trp227Ala side-chain substitution in 3HNR enabled oxidation of 4-estrene-17β-ol-3-one, increased the initial rates for reduction of 4-estrene-3,17-dione and PQ by 4.5-fold and 1.5-fold, respectively, while the initial rate for DDBO oxidation was decreased 4.1-fold. Our TLC analysis and docking simulations also support these findings. Our study thus confirms the important roles of Ala231 in 17β-HSDcl and Trp227 in 3HNR, for the selection between larger and smaller substrates. Article from a special issue on steroids and microorganisms.

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