Pregnenolone 16 alpha-carbonitrile-inducible P-450 gene family: gene conversion and differential regulation.


A cytochrome P-450 cDNA clone, designated pP450PCN2, homologous to the previously characterized pregnenolone 16 alpha-carbonitrile (PCN)-induced P-450 cDNA (pP450PCN1; F. J. Gonzalez, D. W. Nebert, J. P. Hardwick, and C. B. Kasper, J. Biol. Chem. 260:7435-7441), was isolated from a rat liver cDNA expression library by use of a polyclonal anti-P450PCN1 antibody. This P-450 cDNA contains 2,014 base pairs and yields an open reading frame of a protein consisting of 504 amino acids (Mr = 57,760). P450PCN2 cDNA and protein shared 90% nucleotide and 89% amino acid similarity with P450PCN1 cDNA and protein, respectively. The 5' untranslated, coding, and 3' untranslated regions between the two cDNAs share 94, 93, and 79% similarities, respectively. Nucleotide differences in the coding regions, however, are not evenly distributed. Complete homology exists between the two mRNAs for 425 nucleotides (positions 346 through 771). Other regions of 93 nucleotides containing only one difference and 147 nucleotides containing two differences exist toward the 3' end of the coding regions. These data suggest the possibility that a gene conversion event(s) have occurred subsequent to duplication of the ancestral P450PCN gene. Oligonucleotide probes unique for P450PCN1 and P450PCN2 cDNAs were used to examine the levels of their respective mRNAs in noninduced and PCN-induced liver cells and in male and female rats of various ages. P450PCN1 mRNA was not detectable in either male or female rats at any ages. In contrast, P450PCN2 mRNA was present at a low level in newborn rats and became elevated in both males and females at 1 week of age. Levels of p450PCN2 mRNA continued to increase in males until 12 weeks, whereas the mRNA in females reached peak levels at 2 weeks of age but declined continuously at the onset of puberty (between 4 and 12 weeks). These levels of P45PCN2 mRNA closely parallel the increases in testosterone 6 beta-hydroxylase activity and P450PCN2 protein level, as analyzed by Western blots. P450PCN1 mRNA was induced by PCN, dexamethasone, and phenobarbital in both male and female rats. P450PCN2 mRNA was not significantly induced by PCN or dexamethasone but was readily induced by phenobarbital. Testosterone 6 beta-hydroxylase activity was also induced severalfold by PCN, dexamethasone, and phenobarbital. These data demonstrate that P450PCN1 and P450PCN2 genes are differentially regulated during development and after administration of inducing compounds and furthermore suggest that both enzymes possess testosterone 6 beta-hydroxylase activity.


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