The synthesis of aldosterone by the adrenal cortex. Two zones (fasciculata and glomerulosa) possess one enzyme for 11 beta-, 18-hydroxylation, and aldehyde synthesis

J Biol Chem. 1986 Mar 15;261(8):3556-62.


In order to establish the nature of the aldosterone synthetase activity in the adrenal cortex, we have used porcine adrenal, bovine adrenal cortex, highly purified bovine and porcine 11 beta-/18-hydroxylase, and antibodies raised against the latter enzyme. Mitochondria from two zones (glomerulosa and fasciculata) of the bovine cortex synthesize aldosterone, but those from glomerulosa are much more active than those from fasciculata. Partially purified (cholate-extracted plus ammonium sulfate-precipitated) extracts of mitochondria from the two zones are equally active in catalyzing all three steps in the conversion of 11-deoxycorticosterone to aldosterone. 18-Hydroxylase and aldehyde synthetase activities (18-hydroxycorticosterone----aldosterone) were completely precipitated from cholate extracts of mitochondria from bovine adrenal by antibodies to the pure porcine enzyme. No activity corresponding to any of the three steps in the conversion of 11-deoxycorticosterone to aldosterone was found in extramitochondrial fractions of the bovine cortex. Synthesis of aldosterone by the pure porcine enzyme was inhibited by antibodies to this enzyme and by metyrapone (an inhibitor of 11 beta-/18-hydroxylase). When fractions of porcine adrenal, resulting from purification of the enzyme from mitochondria, were exhaustively tested for any of the enzyme activities required for the synthesis of aldosterone, activity was found only in those fractions containing the 11 beta-/18-hydroxylase, i.e. no additional enzyme was discarded during the purification procedure. It is concluded that the only adrenocortical enzyme capable of synthesizing aldosterone in bovine and porcine adrenal is the well known 11 beta-hydroxylase, that the conversion of 18-hydroxycorticosterone to aldosterone is catalyzed by this cytochrome P-450, and that this step (aldehyde synthetase) requires the heme of the P-450 as demonstrated by the photochemical action spectrum.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex / cytology
  • Adrenal Cortex / enzymology
  • Adrenal Cortex / metabolism*
  • Aldehydes / metabolism*
  • Aldosterone / biosynthesis*
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Chemical Precipitation
  • Corticosterone / metabolism
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP11B2
  • Hydroxylation
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Metyrapone / pharmacology
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Photochemistry
  • Steroid 11-beta-Hydroxylase / analysis*
  • Steroid Hydroxylases / analysis*
  • Swine


  • Aldehydes
  • Aldosterone
  • Steroid Hydroxylases
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP11B2
  • Steroid 11-beta-Hydroxylase
  • Corticosterone
  • Metyrapone