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Biochemistry. 1995 Oct 3;34(39):12506-12.

Structure of the human steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) gene: StAR stimulates mitochondrial cholesterol 27-hydroxylase activity.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104, USA.


Steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) plays a key role in steroid hormone synthesis by enhancing the metabolism of cholesterol into pregnenolone. We determined the organization of the StAR structural gene, mapped to 8p11.2. The gene spans 8 kb and consists of seven exons interrupted by six introns. The 1.3 kb of DNA upstream from the transcription start site directed expression of a luciferase reporter gene in mouse Y-1 adrenal cortical tumor cells but not in BeWo choriocarcinoma cells. Reporter gene expression in the Y-1 cells was increased more than 2-fold by 8-Br-cAMP, indicating that the 1.3 kb DNA fragment contains sequences that confer tissue-specific expression and cAMP regulation. The sequence of a related StAR pseudogene, mapped to chromosome 13, lacks introns and has an insertion, numerous substitutions, and deletions. Expression of StAR in COS-1 cells cotransfected with cholesterol 27-hydroxylase (P450c27) and adrenodoxin resulted in a 6-fold increase in formation of 3 beta-hydroxy-5-cholestenoic acid, demonstrating that StAR's actions are not specific to steroidogenesis but extend to other mitochondrial cholesterol-metabolizing enzymes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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