Conservation of function between mammalian and plant steroid 5α-reductases

J. Li, M. G. Biswas, A. Chao, D. W. Russell, J. Chory

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131 Scopus citations


Arabidopsis det2 mutants are small dark-green dwarfs displaying pleiotropic defects in light-regulated development during multiple stages of the plant life cycle. The DET2 gene encodes a protein that shares ≈40% sequence identity with mammalian steroid 5α-reductases and is implicated in the synthesis of a class of plant steroids, the brassinosteroids. Here we show that the DET2 protein, when expressed in human embryonic kidney 293 cells, catalyzes the 5α-reduction of several animal steroid substrates and has similar kinetic properties to the mammalian steroid 5α-reductase enzymes. Moreover, human steroid 5α-reductases expressed in det2 mutant plants can substitute for DET2 in brassinosteroid biosynthesis. These data indicate that DET2 is an ortholog of the mammalian steroid 5α-reductases and provide further evidence that brassinosteroids play an essential role in light-regulated plant development. The structural and functional conservation between DET2 and human steroid 5α-reductases raise interesting issues concerning the evolutionary origin of the steroid hormone signaling system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3554-3559
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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