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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1994 Mar;78(3):561-7.

Detection and functional characterization of the novel missense mutation Y254D in type II 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3 beta HSD) gene of a female patient with nonsalt-losing 3 beta HSD deficiency.

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  • 1Medical Research Council Group in Molecular Endocrinology, CHUL Research Center, Quebec, Canada.


Three beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase/delta 5-delta 4-isomerase (3 beta HSD) deficiency is a form of congenital adrenal hyperplasia characterized by severe impairment of steroid biosynthesis in the adrenals and gonads. To better understand the molecular basis of the phenotypic heterogeneity found in 3 beta HSD deficiency, we analyzed the structure of type I and II 3 beta HSD genes in a female patient with nonsalt-losing 3 beta HSD deficiency diagnosed at puberty. We directly sequenced DNA fragments generated by polymerase chain reaction amplification of the four exons, the exon-intron boundaries, and the 5'-flanking regions of each gene. No mutation was detected in the type I 3 beta HSD gene, which is the predominant species expressed in the placenta and peripheral tissues. We detected a novel missense mutation, Y254D, in one allele of the patient's type II 3 beta HSD gene, which is the almost exclusive type expressed in the adrenals and gonads. The influence of the Y254D mutation on enzymatic activity was assessed by analyzing the recombinant mutant enzyme generated by site-directed mutagenesis after its transient expression in COS-1 monkey kidney cells. Recombinant mutant type II 3 beta HSD enzyme carrying the Y254D substitution exhibits no detectable activity with C21 delta 5-steroid pregnenolone or C19 delta 5-steroid dehydroepiandrosterone used as substrate. The absence of restriction fragment length polymorphism by Southern blot analysis and the finding that all of the amplified DNA fragments possess the expected length suggest the absence of deletions, duplications, or re-arrangements in the other allele. A putative second mutation could be located farther than 1427 basepairs upstream of the initiation codon, thus potentially affecting the normal expression of this gene or within intronic regions, generating an alternative aberrant splicing site. These are possibilities that remain to be elucidated. The present findings, which describe the novel missense mutation Y254D in the human type II 3 beta HSD gene, provide useful information on the structure-activity relationships of the 3 beta HSD superfamily.

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