Rat liver 3alpha-hydroxysteroid/dihydrodiol dehydrogenase (3alpha-HSD/DD) is a member of the aldo-keto reductase (AKR) superfamily. It is involved in the inactivation of steroid hormones and the metabolic activation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) by converting trans-dihydrodiols into reactive and redox-active o-quinones. The structure of the 5'-flanking region of the gene and factors involved in the constitutive and regulated expression of this gene have been reported [H.-K. Lin, . Penning, Cloning, sequencing, and functional analysis of the 5'-flanking region of the rat 3alpha-hydroxysteroid/dihydrodiol dehydrogenase gene, Cancer Res. 55 (1995) 4105-4113]. We now describe the complete genomic structure of the rat type 1 3alpha-HSD/DD gene. Charon 4A and P1 genomic clones contained at least three rat genes (type 1, type 2 and type 3 3alpha-HSD/DD) each of which encoded for the same open reading frame (ORF) but differed in their exon-intron organization. 5'-RACE confirmed that the type 1 3alpha-HSD/DD gene encodes for the dominant transcript in rat liver and it was the regulation of this gene that was previously studied. The rat type 1 3alpha-HSD/DD gene is 30 kb in length and consists of nine exons and eight introns. Exon 9 encodes +931 to 966 bp of the ORF and the 1292 bp 3'-UTR implicated in mRNA stability. This genomic structure is nearly identical to the homologous human genes, type 1 3alpha-HSD (chlordecone reductase/DD4, AKR1C4), type 2 3alpha-HSD (AKR1C3) and type 3 3alpha-HSD (bile-acid binding protein, AKR1C2) genes. Three different cDNA's containing identical ORFs for 3alpha-HSD have been reported suggesting that all three genes may be expressed in rat liver. Using 5' primers corresponding to the 5'-UTR's of the three different cDNA's only one PCR fragment was obtained and corresponded to the type 1 3alpha-HSD/DD gene. These data suggested that the type 2 and type 3 3alpha-HSD/DD genes are not abundantly expressed in rat liver. It is unknown whether the type 2 and type 3 3alpha-HSD/DD genes represent pseudo-genes or whether they represent genes that are differentially expressed in other rat tissues.
Over the summer we carried out some work into the best ways to cryopreserve hair follicles. Patients that were undergoing hair transplant procedures at the Farjo Institute in Manchester consented to us using some of their hair follicles for research. These follicles were cryopreserved at the clinic in over ten different ways using a unique liquid nitrogen free controlled rate freezer. The preserved follicles were then shipped to Claire Higgins’ lab where she carefully thawed them and together we determined which cryopreserving method to proceed with.
To enable our clinical partners and their patients to access this banking service we have been developing and testing the best ways of shipping hair follicles. The hair follicles that have been shipped to date have arrived healthy and workable.
Some of our Clinical partners have been carrying out studies using micro dissected hair follicles on volunteers. This work has been helpful in understanding how to implant the cells.
We are very excited to be co-funding Summik Limbu as a PhD student. She will be working in Claire Higgins’ lab at Imperial College, London and will be supervised by Claire and Paul. Her project title is ‘The role of hair follicle dermis in follicular neogenesis’ . Her project will serve to increase our understanding of the use of dermal papilla cells as a cell therapy for hair regeneration.
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.