Rat Y' bile acid binders (33 kD) have been previously recognized as cytosolic bile acid binding proteins (Sugiyama, Y., T. Yamada, and N. Kaplowitz, 1983, J. Biol. Chem., 258:3602-3607). We have now determined that these Y' binders are 3 alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases (3 alpha-HSD), bile acid-metabolizing enzymes. 3 alpha-HSD activity copurified with lithocholic acid-binding activity after sequential gel filtration, chromatofocusing, and affinity chromatography. Three peaks of 3 alpha-HSD activity (I, II, III) were observed in chromatofocusing and all were identified on Western blot by a specific Y' binder antiserum. 3 alpha-HSD-I, the predominant form, was purified and functioned best as a reductase at pH with a marked preference for NADPH. Michaelis constant values for mono- and dihydroxy bile acids were 1-2 microM, and cholic acid competitively inhibited the reduction of 3-oxo-cholic acid. Under normal redox conditions, partially purified 3 alpha-HSD-I and freshly isolated hepatocytes catalyzed the rapid reduction of 3-oxo-cholic to cholic acid without formation of isocholic acid, whereas the reverse reaction was negligible. The Y' bile acid binders are therefore 3 alpha-HSD, which preferentially and stereospecifically catalyze the reduction of 3-oxo-bile acids to 3 alpha-hydroxy bile acids.
This gene encodes a member of the aldo/keto reductase superfamily , which consists of more than 40 known enzymes and proteins. These enzymes catalyze the conversion of aldehydes and ketones to their corresponding alcohols by utilizing NADH and/or NADPH as cofactors. The enzymes display overlapping but distinct substrate specificity. This enzyme catalyzes the reduction of prostaglandin (PG) D2, PGH2 and phenanthrenequinone (PQ), and the oxidation of 9alpha,11beta-PGF2 to PGD2. It may play an important role in the pathogenesis of allergic diseases such as asthma, and may also have a role in controlling cell growth and/or differentiation. This gene shares high sequence identity with three other gene members and is clustered with those three genes at chromosome 10p15-p14.