Androgen metabolism via 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 3 in mammalian and non-mammalian vertebrates: Comparison of the human and the zebrafish enzyme

R. Mindnich, F. Haller, F. Halbach, G. Moeller, M. Hrabé de Angelis, J. Adamski

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86 Scopus citations

Abstract

Formation and inactivation of testosterone is performed by various members of the 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17β-HSD) family. The main player in testosterone formation is considered to be 17β-HSD type 3, which catalyzes the reduction of androstenedione to testosterone with high efficiency and is almost exclusively expressed in testis. So far, only the mammalian homologs have been characterized but nothing is known about the role of 17β-HSD type 3 in other vertebrates. In this study, we describe the identification and characterization of the zebrafish homolog. We found zebrafish 17β-HSD type 3 to be expressed in embryogenesis from sphere to 84 h post-fertilization. Expression was also detected in various tissues of both male and female adults, but displayed sexual dimorphism. Interestingly, expression was not highest in male testis but in male liver. In female adults, strongest expression was observed in ovaries. At the subcellular level, both human and zebrafish 17β-HSD type 3 localize to the endoplasmic reticulum. The zebrafish enzyme in vitro effectively catalyzed the conversion of androstenedione to testosterone by use of NADPH as cofactor. Among further tested androgens epiandrosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone were accepted as substrates and reduced at C-17 by the human and the zebrafish enzyme. Androsterone and androstanedione though, were only substrates of human 17β-HSD type 3, not the zebrafish enzyme. Furthermore, we found that both enzymes can reduce 11-ketoandrostenedione as well as 11β-hydroxyandrostenedione at C-17 to the respective testosterone forms. Our results suggest that 17β-HSD type 3 might play slightly different roles in zebrafish compared with human although testosterone itself is likely to have similar functions in both organisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-316
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Molecular Endocrinology
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2005
Externally publishedYes

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