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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 1995 Jun;53(1-6):37-9.

The molecular biology of androgenic 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases.

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Department of Biochemistry, Merck Research Laboratories, Rahway, NJ 07065, USA.


The enzyme 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17 beta-HSD) catalyzes the 17 beta-oxidation/reduction of C18- and C19-steroids in a variety of tissues. Three human genes encoding isozymes of 17 beta-HSD, designated 17 beta-HSD types 1, 2 and 3 have been cloned. 17 beta-HSD type 1 (also referred to as estradiol 17 beta-dehydrogenase) catalyzes the conversion of estrone to estradiol, primarily in the ovary and placenta. The 17 beta-HSD type 2 is expressed to high levels in the liver, secretory endometrium and placenta. The type 2 isozyme catalyzes the oxidation of androgens and estrogens equally efficiently. Also, the enzyme possesses 20 alpha-HSD activity demonstrated by its ability to convert 20 alpha-dihydroprogesterone to progesterone. Testicular 17 beta-HSD type 3 catalyzes the conversion of androstenedione to testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone to 5-androstenediol and estrone to estradiol. The 17 beta-HSD3 gene is mutated in male pseudohermaphrodites with the genetic disease 17 beta-HSD deficiency.

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