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PLoS One. 2014 Feb 21;9(2):e89727. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089727. eCollection 2014.

Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) stimulates the first step in the biosynthesis of steroid hormones.

Author information

1
Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Technical and Natural Sciences III, Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany.

Abstract

Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) is the most abundant circulating steroid in human, with the highest concentrations between age 20 and 30, but displaying a significant decrease with age. Many beneficial functions are ascribed to DHEAS. Nevertheless, long-term studies are very scarce concerning the intake of DHEAS over several years, and molecular investigations on DHEAS action are missing so far. In this study, the role of DHEAS on the first and rate-limiting step of steroid hormone biosynthesis was analyzed in a reconstituted in vitro system, consisting of purified CYP11A1, adrenodoxin and adrenodoxin reductase. DHEAS enhances the conversion of cholesterol by 26%. Detailed analyses of the mechanism of DHEAS action revealed increased binding affinity of cholesterol to CYP11A1 and enforced interaction with the electron transfer partner, adrenodoxin. Difference spectroscopy showed K(d)-values of 40 ± 2.7 µM and 24.8 ± 0.5 µM for CYP11A1 and cholesterol without and with addition of DHEAS, respectively. To determine the K(d)-value for CYP11A1 and adrenodoxin, surface plasmon resonance measurements were performed, demonstrating a K(d)-value of 3.0 ± 0.35 nM (with cholesterol) and of 2.4 ± 0.05 nM when cholesterol and DHEAS were added. Kinetic experiments showed a lower Km and a higher kcat value for CYP11A1 in the presence of DHEAS leading to an increase of the catalytic efficiency by 75%. These findings indicate that DHEAS affects steroid hormone biosynthesis on a molecular level resulting in an increased formation of pregnenolone.

PMID:
24586990
PMCID:
PMC3931814
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0089727
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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