Tissue-specific promoters regulate aromatase cytochrome P450 expression

Evan R. Simpson, Mala S. Mahendroo, Gary D. Means, Michael W. Kilgore, C. Jo Corbin, Carole R. Mendelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


In the human, estrogen biosynthesis occurs in several tissue sites, including ovary, placenta, adipose, and brain. Recent work from our laboratory has indicated that tissue-specific expression of aromatase cytochrome P450 (P450arom), the enzyme responsible for estrogen biosynthesis, is determined, in part, by the use of tissue-specific promoters. Thus the expression of P450arom in human ovary appears to utilize a promoter proximal to the translation start-site. This promoter is not utilized in placenta but instead, the promoter used to drive aromatase expression in placenta is at least 40 kb upstream from the translational start-site. In addition, there is a minor promoter used in the expression of a small proportion of placental transcripts which is 9 kb upstream from the start of translation. Transcripts from these promoters are also expressed in other fetal tissues including placenta-related cells such as JEG-3 choriocarcinoma cells, hydatidiform moles, and other fetal tissues such as fetal liver. On the other hand, in adipose tissue expression of P450arom may be achieved by yet another, adipose-specific promoter. The various 5′-untranslated exons unique for expression driven by each of these promoters are spliced into a common intron/exon boundary upstream from the translational start-site. This means that the protein expressed in each of the various tissue-specific sites of estrogen biosynthesis is identical.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-330
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number4-6
StatePublished - Mar 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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