The murine 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase multigene family: structure, function and tissue-specific expression

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 1995 Jun;53(1-6):111-8. doi: 10.1016/0960-0760(95)00028-x.


The classical form of the enzyme 5-ene-3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase/isomerase (3 beta HSD), expressed in adrenal glands and gonads, catalyzes the conversion of 5-ene-3 beta-hydroxysteroids to 4-ene-3-ketosteroids, an essential step in the biosynthesis of all active steroid hormones. To date, four distinct mouse 3 beta HSD cDNAs have been isolated and characterized. These cDNAs are expressed in a tissue-specific manner and encode proteins of two functional classes. Mouse 3 beta HSD I and III function as 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases and 5-en-->4-en isomerases using NAD+ as a cofactor. The enzymatic function of 3 beta HSD II has not been completely characterized. Mouse 3 beta HSD IV functions only as a 3-ketosteroid reductase using NADPH as a cofactor. The predicted amino acid sequences of the four isoforms exhibit a high degree of identity. Forms II and III are 85 and 83% homologous to form I. Form IV is most distant from the other three with 77 and 73% sequence identity to I and III, respectively. 3 beta HSD I is expressed in the gonads and adrenal glands of the adult mouse. 3 beta HSD II and III are expressed in the kidney and liver with the expression of form II greater in kidney and form III greater in liver. Form IV is expressed exclusively in the kidney. Although the amino acid composition of forms I, III and IV predicts proteins of the same molecular weight, the proteins have different mobilities on SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. This characteristic allows for differential identification of the expressed proteins. The four structural genes encoding the different isoforms are closely linked within a segment of mouse chromosome 3 that is conserved on human chromosome 1.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 3-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases / genetics*
  • 3-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases / metabolism
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Genes
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family
  • NAD / metabolism
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Steroids / biosynthesis
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Isoenzymes
  • Steroids
  • NAD
  • 3-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases