Gene regulation of steroidogenesis

Tsuneo Omura, Ken ichirou Morohashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Citations (Scopus)


The biosynthesis of various steroid hormones in animal tissues are catalyzed by six forms of cytochrome P450 and two hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases. The tissue-specific expression of these enzymes, which are under the control of the pituitary gland and mainly regulated at the transcriptional level, determines the steroidogenesis of animal tissues. Analysis of the promoter regions of the steroidogenic P450 genes revealed various cis-acting elements, including cAMP-responsive sequences (CRS), Ad4, and GC-rich sequences, which were needed for the tissue-specific and cAMP-dependent expression of the genes. Some of the nuclear protein factors binding to the cis-acting elements were isolated and characterized. A zinc-finger protein binding to Ad4, which was termed Ad4BP or SF-1, seems to be of particular importance in steroidogenesis. Ad4BP was expressed in the cells of the steroidogenic tissues, adrenal gland and gonadal tissues, in the rat fetus prior to the expression of steroidogenic P450s, and remained expressed only in steroidogenic cells in adult animals. Close investigation of the temporal and spacial expression of Ad4BP in the fetal tissues suggested its role in the differentiation of the steroidogenic tissues and the sex determination of the gonadal tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number1-6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1995
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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