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Steroids. 1996 Sep;61(9):508-23.

Mammalian 3 alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia 19104-6084, USA.

Erratum in

  • Steroids 1997 May;62(5):455-6.


Mammalian 3 alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases (3 alpha-HSDs) regulate steroid hormone levels. For example, hepatic 3 alpha-HSDs inactivate circulating androgens, progestins, and glucocorticoids. In target tissues they regulate access of steroid hormones to steroid hormone receptors. For example, in the prostate 3 alpha-HSD acts as a molecular switch and controls the amount of 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone that can bind to the androgen receptor, while in the brain 3 alpha-HSD can regulate the amount of tetrahydrosteroids that can alter GABAa receptor function. Molecular cloning indicates that these mammalian 3 alpha-HSDs belong to the aldo-keto reductase superfamily and that they are highly homologous proteins. Using the three-dimensional structure of rat liver 3 alpha-HSD as a template for site-directed mutagenesis, details regarding structure function relationships, including catalysis and cofactor and steroid hormone recognition have been elucidated. These details may be relevant to all mammalian 3 alpha-HSDs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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