Affinity labeling of 3 alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase with 3 alpha-bromoacetoxyandrosterone and 11 alpha-bromoacetoxyprogesterone. Isolation and sequence of active site peptides containing reactive cysteines; sequence confirmation using nucleotide sequence from a cDNA clone

J Biol Chem. 1991 May 15;266(14):8826-34.


Homogeneous 3 alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3 alpha-HSD, EC of rat liver cytosol is potently inhibited at its active site by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Using 3 alpha-bromoacetoxy-5 alpha-androstan-17-one (BrAnd, a substrate analog) and 11 alpha-bromoacetoxyprogesterone (Br11P, a glucocorticoid analog) as affinity-labeling agents, kinetic evidence was obtained that these agents alkylate this site. Inactivation of 3 alpha-HSD with either [14C]BrAnd or [14C] Br11P led to the incorporation of 1 mol of affinity-labeling agent per enzyme monomer. Complete acid hydrolysis of 3 alpha-HSD radiolabeled with either agent followed by amino acid analysis led to the identification of [14C]carboxymethylcysteine indicating that [14C]BrAnd and [14C]Br11P covalently tag discrete reactive cysteine(s) at the enzyme active site. Trypsin digestion of [14C]BrAnd-inactivated 3 alpha-HSD followed by peptide mapping led to the purification of a single radiolabeled peptide (3A1) which gave the following sequence: H2N-Ser-Ile-Gly-Val-Ser-Asn-Phe-Asn-X-Arg-CO2H. Identical experiments on [14C] Br11P-inactivated 3 alpha-HSD led to the purification of three radiolabeled peptides (11P1-11P3). The major radiolabeled peptide (11P1) had an identical sequence to 3A1 which was tagged with [14C]BrAnd. The minor radiolabeled peptides had the following sequences: H2N-Ser-Lys-Asp-Ile-Ile-Leu-Val-Ser-Tyr-X-Thr-Leu-Gly-Ser-Ser-Arg-CO2H (11P2) and H2N-Ser-Pro-Val-Leu-Leu-Asp-Asp-Pro-Val-Leu-X-Ala-Ile-Ala-Lys-CO2H (11P3). In each peptide group X was identified as carboxymethylcysteine. Alignment of the peptide sequences with the primary structure of 3 alpha-HSD, deduced from its cDNA clone, assigned peptide 11P1 to residues 162-171, peptide 11P2 to residues 208-223, and peptide 11P3 to residues 232-246 of the amino acid sequence. The reactive cysteines correspond to Cys170, Cys217, and Cys242. We propose that Cys170 labeled by BrAnd may lie within the catalytic pocket of the enzyme. By contrast the 11 alpha-bromoacetoxy group in Br11P labeled several reactive cysteines which may be involved in the binding of glucocorticoids and NSAIDs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 3-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • 3-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases / chemistry*
  • 3-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases / metabolism
  • Affinity Labels
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Androsterone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Androsterone / chemistry
  • Androsterone / metabolism*
  • Androsterone / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Cysteine / chemistry
  • Hydroxyprogesterones / chemistry*
  • Hydroxyprogesterones / pharmacology
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Rats


  • Affinity Labels
  • Hydroxyprogesterones
  • Peptides
  • 11 alpha-bromoacetoxyprogesterone
  • 3-bromoacetoxyandrostan-17-one
  • Androsterone
  • 3-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • Cysteine