Jan 1, 1976

The role of cytochrome P-450 in the regulation of steroid biosynthesis

Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
P F Hall


A cytochrome P-450 from bovine adrenocortical mitochondria has been purified to near homogeneity. The protein catalyzes side-chain cleavage of cholesterol (cholesterol leads to pregnenolone) but neither 11beta- nor 18-hydroxylation. It consists of 16 subunits of two species (MW 52,000) and contains 8 heme groups. The enzyme has been used to determine the stoichiometry of side-chain cleavage with the following results: (TPNH and O2 consumed/mole of cleavage), cholesterol 3:3:1, 20S-hydroxycholesterol 2:2:1 and 20S,22R-dihydroxycholesterol 1:1:1. These findings support the occurrence of the proposed pathway for the side-chain cleavage of cholesterol. Cleavage of the diol is inhibited by CO and shows a characteristic P-450 photochemical action spectrum. Evidently the diol is cleaved in a typical monoxygenase reaction. The active form of the enzyme contains 16 subunits (protein 16); forms consisting of 8 (protein 8) and 4 (protein 4) subunits can be isolated and are enzymatically active only by prior conversion to protein 16.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Biochemical Pathway
Cytochrome P450
Bos taurus
Cytokinesis of the Fertilized Ovum
Regulation of Steroid Biosynthetic Process

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